Telegraph.co.uk, 10 Sept 2012: 'Big Brother system puts motorist privacy aside'
“Border surveillance cameras that have been in operation along the Dutch borders since a month have been controversial. @migoBoras is meant to catch criminals off guard, but there are fears that innocent motorists will become victims of the Big Brother system.
The camera system has taken a big bite out of the privacy of motorists along the Dutch border. @migoBoras can have any suspicious car pulled over by the marechaussee, without the need for any form of suspicion. @migoBoras (Border Observation, Registration and Analysis System) is intended to catch criminals at the Dutch border faster, but there is a danger that it is the innocent road user who will suffer. The Piratenpartij fears that criminals will quickly discover the loopholes, while unsuspecting motorists will be picked off the road without any suspicion.
The system recognises suspicious cars that want to drive into or out of the Netherlands at the border. Which car is suspicious is entered in advance into a data system. The camera 'sees' a similar car with a registration number from a pre-set country and then alerts. Motor cops can then stop and check the spotted car. It is not checked for the license plate as such, but for country of origin. @migoBoras, which is also used in the US and Britain, seems especially suitable for catching people who pay their fines or insurance late.
The system cost the Dutch government 20 million and must be manned day and night. However, data on its effectiveness is lacking. It is also not known how much time the marechaussee spends on automatically generated reports by @migoBoras. Figures on the number of criminals convicted, the number of crimes prevented and the number of false suspicions are not available.
That @migoBoras is controversial is obvious. The system (and the lack of legislation surrounding it) is under investigation by the European Commission, mainly at the behest of the German government. Its eastern neighbours are much more critical of the privacy violation. The Dutch government could be taken to court for violation of the right to privacy and violation of the Schengen Convention. Privacy First Foundation considers that. "The system still lacks a sufficient legal basis and is not necessary," Vincent Böhre informs. @migoBoras also threatens to soon be expanded to include four weeks of storage of everyone's travel movements through automatic number plate recognition.
Recently, the European Commission gave the green light to operationalise a slimmed-down version of the system. However, the European Court of Justice has not yet given the green light. However, it did approve the already existing Mobile Security Surveillance (MTV) of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (KMar) on Dutch border roads."
Source: Telegraph online (Interior), 10 September 2012. Salient detail: this article was offline for 24 hours following "complaints from a ministry" to Telegraph editors. On Tuesday afternoon, 11 September 2012, it was put online again by the Telegraph in slightly corrected, updated form. Also, all 335 comments under the (original) article were deleted; these comments are HERE yet to be read, however.