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Telegraph, 11 November 2014: 'Privacy issue before court; refuser refuses license plate parking has case heard'

After months of delay, the potentially groundbreaking court case is finally hearing today with the key question: is privacy in the city being violated by license plate parking?

The story begins on 14 October 2013, when Bas Filippini bought a parking ticket on Gustav Mahlerlaan. In July that year, Amsterdam introduced license plate parking: anyone who wants a parking ticket must first enter the car's license plate number.

"I didn't do that, on purpose. In fact, I am pertinently opposed to having to type in my private data to make use of the government," said Filippini, who is also chairman of the Privacy First foundation. "Indeed, I have to use it, because parking operator Cition also has a monopoly position."

A few weeks later, a fine of EUR 59.90 dropped in the mail. Filippini refused to pay it; although he had not entered his license plate number, he had simply paid his parking ticket. Letters of objection and rejection followed back and forth. An additional problem according to Filippini is that the entered license plates are also kept in a database for 13 weeks, the time limit for any appeal and objection period.

According to Filippini's lawyer Benito Boer, he stands a good chance of winning the case. "Under certain circumstances, the government may abandon the European right to privacy, but the end must justify the means. That is not the case in this instance."

The ruling, which is likely to be weeks away, could have major implications for the rest of the Netherlands. A number of municipalities, like Amsterdam, have already introduced licence plate parking. "If it turns out that it violates the law, it can no longer be applied," he said.

Filippini and his foundation have already come up with a solution: an anonymous registration by parking space number instead of a system of compulsory license plate parking. As long as the case is sub judice, the municipality of Amsterdam does not want to comment substantively. Documents in possession of this newspaper show that Cition believes it acts neatly according to the rules and that the new system has made enforcement much more efficient, more cost-effective and less susceptible to fraud."

Source: Telegraph, 11 November 2014, p. 16.