The Big Brother Awards 2010 for the ‘worse breacher of privacy’ was awarded to Trans Link Systems (TLS), the folks who brought to you the disaster of a public transport chip card here in the Netherlands. Even the public’s choice award went to them for the double whammy. The card has been cracked every which way possible, but the makers pretend they have the situation under control, but they don’t.
From unnecessarily fingerprinting the Dutch for a passport to forcing visitors of the city of Haarlem to register their comings and goings by car with their licence plates, breaching people’s privacy in the name of safety is illegal as well as a very slippery slope. In the Netherlands, citizens’ movement Bits of Freedom continues to draw attention to these problems and has had some success.
What a weird idea: the government breaks its own privacy laws made to protect citizens in order to check whether citizens are breaking the law. That can’t be good.
Tags: Bits of Freedom, chip card, public transport
Today the Dutch digital rights organisation Bits of Freedom announced that it will be making a second start. A lack of funds made it impossible to go on in 2006, but under new director Ot van Daalen, the foundation managed to get a subsidy from Internet4all which will enable BoF to start anew and keep going for the next three years.
In his speech at hackers convention HAR 2009 in Vierhouten, Gelderland, Van Daalen reminded an attentive audience that in 1998, the Dutch government had adopted the stance (in a document called Wetgeving voor de Electronisch Snelweg) “that which applies off-line, should also apply on-line.” This already unfortunate attitude has now changed into the even worse “that which we wouldn’t apply off-line, we will apply on-line,” according to the new BoF.
Examples abound in the form of data retention laws. The Bits of Freedom foundation wants to defend privacy and the freedom to communicate in the information society.
You can find Van Daalen’s speech (in English and PDF format) here.
Tags: Bits of Freedom, freedoms, government, HAR 2009