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House of Representatives roundtable on access to OV data

An interesting 'roundtable' place on data access in public transport.

As the amount of data (including personal data) in public transport increases, there is increasing pressure to share this data with various parties and start using it for a variety of purposes. This is at odds with the individual traveller's right to privacy. For years, Privacy First has been advocating the right to privacy and anonymity in the public domain, including public transport. We therefore immediately responded positively to the Lower House's invitation to participate in this roundtable discussion. All participants were asked to make their main views known in advance by means of short position papers (maximum two A4). Find Privacy First's position paper here (pdf) and here are the position papers of the other invitees, including CBS, Translink and travellers' association Rover. Privacy First's main views are as follows:

  1. Every traveller has the right to anonymity on public transport.
  2. Only anonymised, aggregated data may be shared - under strict safeguards.
  3. No mass surveillance in public transport.
  4. Transparency in privacy breaches.
  5. Privacy safeguards in traveller research.
  6. Demonstrable use of privacy by design.

Privacy First seized the opportunity by delegating a pre-eminent public transport expert to the roundtable discussion: privacy activist Michiel Jonker spoke on our behalf. However, any sense of urgency regarding privacy proved largely absent among the MPs and other guests present, Jonker said in his first reaction afterwards. Privacy First will soon publish his overall critical impression of the roundtable discussion on this page. Below you can already read the video of the full session look back and draw your own conclusions.

Update 8 October 2019

Read here the entire impression and analysis provided by Michiel Jonker (in a personal capacity) wrote following the roundtable discussion on 10 September (pdf, 67 pp).

Update 8 July 2021

On 5 July, the Administrative Law Division of the Council of State heard Jonker's three appeals on privacy in public transport in three consecutive hearings. Each hearing dealt with the AP's refusal to investigate (sufficiently) and its refusal to take enforcement action. You can find everything about it here.