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RTL Z, 8 November 2016: 'Lower house approves law to collect license plates'

The House of Representatives today approved a controversial law that would register car license plates and store them for four weeks. Civil rights organisation Privacy First considers it a "massive privacy violation".

Cameras along roads record license plates of passing vehicles. The license plates are then entered into a database held by the investigating agencies, which allows people who are wanted to be traced more quickly.

Four weeks

The so-called Automatic NumberPlate Recognition (ANPR) system has been deployed for years, but the license plates of innocent citizens must be erased within 24 hours. The new law extends that retention period to four weeks.

The draft law is controversial. Back in 2011, for instance, privacy watchdog the Personal Data Authority ruled that the four-week retention period was far too long: it would create a "haystack of police data".

'Utterly disproportionate'

The new law makes anyone travelling by car a suspect, Privacy First argues. "This is totally unnecessary, utterly disproportionate and also ineffective. The bill therefore violates the right to privacy and is therefore unlawful," said Privacy First's Vincent Böhre.

Böhre said that if the bill is also passed by the Senate, Privacy First will take the Dutch state to the European courts to undo the law.

The VVD's amendment to extend the retention period to six months was rejected."

See also