Various regional dailies, 20 March 2013: 'Anger over storage of license plates'
“Privacy foundation warns: every citizen becomes a potential suspect by this measure
Police may start storing filmed license plates for up to four weeks. This goes too far, critics say.
DEN HAAG - The House of Representatives is today discussing police use and storage of camera images of vehicles and their number plates.
The Ministry of Security and Justice sees much potential in expanding the possibilities. However, a lawsuit against the proposed system is already looming in advance.
Even currently, cameras already capture vehicle registration numbers in traffic. The data thus collected can then be automatically compared with license plates of vehicles registered in the name of acquaintances of the police, such as someone still serving a sentence.
The license plates visible on camera images are immediately compared with a file of license plates in the name of those 'acquaintances'. If this produces a hit, the police get to work. The remaining no hits go straight into the bin.
Soon the police will be allowed to store those no hits for four weeks and use them to solve crimes. Storing, by the way, is done without including a personal name.
Following a report or discovery of a crime, the police can then start investigating, for example, whether the car of the robbery suspect has been spotted at a certain location.
The Council of State is already not enthusiastic, but the Foundation Privacy First, known for its fight against the new passport, has no intention at all of taking it if it becomes legally possible. Then there will be a lawsuit, announces Vincent Böhre of the foundation. Every citizen becomes a potential suspect by this measure, thinks Privacy First.
According to Böhre, the government should take action only upon reasonable suspicion. "We should go back to such classic fundamental rights and not criminalise the entire population. It is now increasingly being reversed. In doing so, it may be done anonymously, but everything can be traced and also everything can be hacked."
"A remedy worse than the disease," agrees Gerard Schouw of D66. "This million-dollar project does not lead to more security, but actually encourages theft of cars and license plates. The serious criminals are not detected. They evade the cameras or start driving with fake license plates. To now spend millions tracking innocent citizens to collect some outstanding fines is a bridge too far for me."
He too complains about viewing "ordinary citizens as potential criminals". He struggles with several questions: "How will privacy be ensured? What happens to the data? And in case of a data breach, the consequences are incalculable.""
Source: Brabants Dagblad, Dagblad de Limburger, De Gelderlander, De Stentor / Apeldoornse Courant, Deventer Dagblad, Dagblad Flevoland, Gelders Dagblad, Nieuw Kamper Dagblad, Sallands Dagblad, Zutphens Dagblad, Veluws Dagblad, Zwolse Courant, Eindhovens Dagblad, Limburgs Dagblad, Provinciale Zeeuwse Courant, 20 March 2013.