Students take action against the OV-chipkaart

2nd March 2010, Comments 6 comments

Five law students from Amsterdam have demanded an investigation into the OV-chipkaart over travel data retention.

Amsterdam--According to the students, the transport companies are holding travel data on the card for too long. “Saving travel data for seven years is disproportionate. According to the law the data should be kept for the shortest amount of time possible,” said Jan Jaap Oerlemans, one of the students. “We think the way that the chipkaart is being used is illegal.”

The students want the College Bescherming Persoonsgegevens (The Dutch Data Protection Authority) to step in and initiate an investigation on the student OV-chipkaart. The Dutch DPA refused to act on a previous occasion when concerns arose about data retention of the NS Voordeelurenkaart.
However, the students do not consider it an obstacle as there is a distinct difference between the two cards. According to Oerlemans, regular passengers can choose for an anonymous OV-chipkaart whereas students are not given this choice.

The Dutch DPA was originally critical about the OV-chipkaart, although during its inception decided not to intervene. Should the Dutch DPA refuse to act this time, the students are entitled—free of charge-- to object over the matter and potentially take it to court. 

Jan-Willem Navis/Spits,Suvi Lindén/Expatica

6 Comments To This Article

  • HTD posted:

    on 2nd March 2010, 20:29:34 - Reply

    I agree, until the growing pains of the OV Card can be ironed out, I will only be using limited amount pre-paid OV Cards or Cash as you say. This limits one's liability to the total credit left on one's OV Card, and not more.
    Perhaps, the NS should contact Lisbon, Portugal or Chicago, Illinois and ask them for advice in handling these kind of nagging problems.
  • proteus posted:

    on 2nd March 2010, 18:08:21 - Reply

    There are other issues too. Imagine a crowded tram (as it is often the case in the morning), you put your OV card in your pocket and the crowd keeps pushing you against the reader multiple times. Or the crowd just pushes you out without giving you time to properly check out. As for anonymity: if you want real anonymity, pay with cash, not a debit/credit card which can be linked to your name.
  • HTD posted:

    on 2nd March 2010, 16:50:23 - Reply

    Yes, the OV system must become more user friendly. In forgetting to swipe one's OV Card and having to pay 'Big Time', the penalty does not fit the 'crime'. Traffic toll booths and sports car auto racing teams broadcast their passing info to a wireless system that records each time they drive through a toll collection point, or complete a circuit lap. Seems like the same tech could be applied for the NS problem. And it will remain a problem until fixed!
  • aysem posted:

    on 2nd March 2010, 16:28:42 - Reply

    I totally agree with these kids: Until I learned that the anonymous cards were available I did not take the metro.
    But I also wonder if I'm the only one who constantly forgets to check out in the trams and busses. This system does not allow you to be absent-minded, read a book on your way to work, or relax and listen to your music! I must have lost at least a hurdred euros per month because of the check out stupidity!
    Any actions on that?!
  • proteus posted:

    on 2nd March 2010, 15:32:39 - Reply

    The only "step forward" is that more personal data about the trevelers is being tracked and stored. And, you bet, at some point it will be sold or stolen by a third party organization who will abuse it. I.e. health insurance companies jacking up your premiums because your travel statistics show that you visit "unsafe" areas too often. And this is just one possible fraud scenario, there will be thousands ways of getting screwed. And if you want to get down on the technical level, are you aware that their encryption has already been broken? Not that I'm worried about NS or HTM loosing money to illegally recharged cards, they brought it on themselves by ignoring repeated warnings from security experts who told them the system is insecure. No, I'm more concerned about the kid who will make a portable device which erases all the cards around him - you know, as a practical joke. Positive step in productivity indeed.
  • HistoryTechDoc posted:

    on 2nd March 2010, 11:22:21 - Reply

    OK, certain measures should be taken so that OV Cards are not used to track ordinary law abiding students and others.
    However, from a technical standpoint, I, as yet have no objections. We were in Lisbon, Portugal in January 2010, and there they have been using OV Chip cards for some time. After an initial 'getting used to the new system day', we found them to be more convenient for being able to board trains without having to use the usual time consuming yellow NS ticket machines--sure as long as one has loaded enough money a forehand. However, this can be done when one is not in a rush and is similar to chip loading. So let's go forward here with a positive step in productivity.