Big Brother Starts Here: Netherlands to Monitor Motorists' Movements

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Dutch Transport Minister Camiel Urlings has announced his government's intention to introduce satellite-based road pricing for all vehicles plying the Netherlands' roadways. Radio Netherlands reports that trucks will be the first to get the mandatory GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) monitoring devices in 2011, with cars gearing-up the year after. Drivers will be charged a per-mile fee depending on any number of variables: type of vehicle (to penalize larger cars and SUVs), location (i.e. congestion charging for cities), time of day, etc. Eurlings says the road pricing system will be countrywide by 2016. To soften the blow, the Dutch government will eliminate road tax and BMP (new car purchase tax). Eurlings claims that means the road pricing will be fairer, with more than half of road users paying less under the new system. The article makes no mention of personal privacy implications– which is scary enough. But it gets really scary when you consider the fact that the other European Union (EU) member nations are sure to monitor Holland's scheme in the hopes of implementing it in their home countries or, indeed, throughout the EU.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Dean Dean on Dec 03, 2007

    That is scary shit. Pardon the language.

  • Yankinwaoz Yankinwaoz on Dec 03, 2007

    #3 nailed it. I was wondering the same thing. How hard would it be to disable the GPS device? Will their cars require a comparison of GPS recorded miles against the odometer? What if the device "breaks"?

  • TomAnderson TomAnderson on Dec 03, 2007

    I guess "1984" isn't required reading in Dutch schools...

  • Martin Schwoerer Martin Schwoerer on Dec 05, 2007

    Hey guys, I understand where you are coming from, but us "Euro sods" have strict data privacy laws. "The right to data privacy is heavily regulated and rigidly enforced in Europe. Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) provides a right to respect for one's "private and family life, his home and his correspondence". - Wikipedia. Not wanting to start a flame war, but we still have things like Habeas Corpus rights too, you know. Unlike some places I could think of.