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Webwereld, 15 Feb 2013: 'Privacy First to court over license plate database'

Privacy First will go to court if parliament approves Opstelten's plans to store license plate images for four weeks. Everyone on the road will then end up in a database.

Privacy First wants to go to court if the Lower and Upper Houses agree to Minister Opstelten's new bill, under which images taken by cameras of license plates would be kept for four weeks even though there are no indications that the people behind those license plates would have committed a crime. According to the privacy advocate, such a law violates the European Convention on Human Rights and privacy laws, among others.

Opstelten submitted the bill early this week, after which debate in the Lower House can now begin. An earlier bill was withdrawn by the minister in 2010 after the Lower House objected to it. The Dutch Data Protection Authority was then highly critical of the bill.

The CBP even arranged for some police forces to stop using stored license plates because it was against the law. Despite this, a letter from the minister reveals that several times, investigating officers (on a trial basis) knowingly stored license plate records without any legal basis.

CBP criticism largely ignored

In response to the CBP's new advice, the minister says he has tightened up the bill, just as was done in response to the advice of the Council of State. This, the minister says, prevents the licence plate database from being used also for the detection of relatively minor offences.

The CBP further has reservations about the large scale of data processing and storage; after all, images are taken of everyone on the (highways). Furthermore, the CBP considers the four-week retention period insufficiently substantiated. The CBP is further apprehensive about a nationwide camera web, by linking with municipal cameras and other camera operators.

Privacy First also points out all those objections, but says that all those objections are being ignored by the minister. Initially, the organisation will start a lobby to the Lower House, but is already gathering supporters to possibly go to court, and in the extreme case to the European Court of Human Rights."

Source: Webwereld, 15 February 2013.