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Parool, 31 January 2015: 'Without license plate, it will be hard to scan and even harder to earn'

Now that parkers cannot be required to provide their license plates, as the court ruled yesterday, parking could become a lot less lucrative for Amsterdam.

Cition director Jørgen Weekers sat there satisfied a year ago. He had good news to report: the municipality of Amsterdam had collected more parking fees than ever in 2013, a whopping 166 million euros.

This was not only because parking fees had risen that year and because the area where motorists have to pay for parking had expanded, but mainly because of intensified checks. With scanning cars, Cition had been able to check three times as many cars in 2013 as in 2010. Result: a greater 'chance of being caught' and, Weekers said, by extension 'a greater willingness to pay'. More money, in other words.

Cition could not be reached for comment yesterday, but the court ruling that parkers cannot be required to give their license plates when paying must have fallen raw on the parking operator. The company said only last year it was aiming to further increase the number of checks with scanning cars.

It is all about a lawsuit filed this autumn by the Privacy First foundation. Chairman Bas Filippini had deliberately not entered his license plate number at a parking pole, because in his view the obligation to do so was a violation of his right to privacy. He successfully challenged the fine he subsequently received, as it turned out yesterday. The judge ruled that he did not have to enter his registration number. After all, he could prove that he had indeed paid.

Filippini responded crowing with delight at that statement. 'It's done with license plate parking!' He says he also has nothing to do with the problems he has now saddled Cition with. 'It's about my rights as a citizen. I don't want everyone to be able to see when I am where. That's nobody's business.'

Filippini also said he has put a bomb under the control capabilities of parking operators. 'Not only in Amsterdam, because of course this also has implications for license plate parking elsewhere. Like in Groningen.'

The municipality is not happy with the judge's ruling, says a spokeswoman for the Department of Infrastructure Traffic and Transport (DIVV). 'On the consequences of this issue, I dare not make any statements.' The service is now considering whether the municipality will appeal to the Council of State.
Filippini does have a solution for municipalities, by the way: 'Paint those nice boxes on the street everywhere, give them a number and make sure you can enter that number. Works just as well and you don't violate my privacy with it.'"

Source: Parool, Saturday 31 January 2015, p. 2. Also published at