Privacy violation: camera cars used to track lockdown breakers

Do you sometimes have the feeling you’re being watched? πŸ‘€ If you live in Rotterdam, that may very well be the case. The municipality used two camera cars to check whether people were keeping social distance during the lockdown last year, reports NU.nl.

The cars would film faces and license plates using a 360 degrees camera. The captured images were then sent on to a central point and monitored by municipal officers β€” very Big Brother-y.

Oh, and not to mention, illegal.

Reports passed on to split up group

Although this took place during the time when groups of more than three people were forbidden in public spaces, the Dutch Data Protection Authority (AP) has ruled that the municipality violated peoples’ privacy.

At the central point, municipal officers would decide whether to send BOAs or police officers to the places where groups had congregated. The cars especially patrolled parks and squares and, based on the reports from the cars, officers would be sent there with the explicit purpose of splitting up the filmed groups of people.

In total, 75 reports were passed on from the two camera cars during April and May 2020.

Unknown whether the municipality will be reprimanded

The AP supervisor can decide to fine the municipality of Rotterdam for the violation of privacy. However, it’s not certain whether this will happen. πŸ™ƒ

In any case, the AP wants to release its report on the camera cars in Rotterdam so that other municipalities can receive more clarity on the rules surrounding the use of these cars. Though his spokesperson denies it, it’s said that the mayor of Rotterdam is trying to prevent the publication of the report.

What do you think of this violation by the city of Rotterdam? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image: svershinsky/Depositphotos

Christine Stein Hededam πŸ‡©πŸ‡°
A Dane with a special place in her heart for Minnesota, Christine is now falling in love with everything Dutch. Between finishing her bachelor’s degree, learning Dutch, and doing yoga teacher training, you will find her wandering about the Hague. Always up for visiting new places, she loves to explore the Netherlands with friends and takes pride in scoping out cute cafΓ©s (wherein to discuss books, big plans, and food).

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