RTL News, 21 September 2018: 'Tax authorities still deploy controversial cameras over the road again'
“Every car on the road will soon be watched very closely by the Inland Revenue. Millions of photos of motorists will flow into the service every month from next year, on the hunt for a small group of motor vehicle tax evaders, according to the Budget Day documents, somewhat tucked away in the 'Other Fiscal Measures' bill.
The Inland Revenue aims to have the system working as early as 1 January 2019. The number plate of every motorist on public roads will be scanned. The tax authorities will then get all those millions of photos to determine whether motor vehicle tax has been properly paid.
Tax authorities are watching you
Before 2017, the Tax Administration was already using the camera footage. But the Supreme Court then whistled the Tax Authority back. This was because there was no legal basis for collecting and processing the camera images. So that legal basis is now going to exist, the 2019 Tax Plan states.
Very precisely, the plan means that the Tax Administration may collect and process the license plate number, location, date and time the photo was taken. To do so, the Tax Administration can start using police highway cameras, among other things. You come across these everywhere these days, in total there are already some 800 of them in the Netherlands.
'Privacy at stake'
The deployment of the cameras is controversial; the large-scale collection of licence plate data is seen as a considerable invasion of motorists' privacy.
Vincent Böhre of Privacy First worries. "You are going to collect all licence plate data to target a relatively small group. There is a promise that the data of motorists who have paid properly will be deleted within 24 hours, but it was previously revealed that the Tax Office does not handle this well. (...) Everything about this law seems like a stepping stone to more control with cameras. It will be used for goal A now, but you will see that eventually goals B to Z will be added."
The Inland Revenue itself, in a comment, let it be known that for now it is really only concerned with motor vehicle tax. The service does say in fairness: an investigation is already under way to see whether the images may also be used to monitor private use of leased cars."
Update 22 September 2018: Also see the report by EenVandaag via https://eenvandaag.avrotros.nl/item/belastingdienst-mag-omstreden-camera-inzetten-in-jacht-op-fraudeur/.