OV-chipkaart: A tool of Big-Brother


I have heard about this being introduced but had paid scant attention to it.
It is a pre-paid one-card-does-all for public transport, being introduced to replace the old strippenkaart system.
Looking around the site I found out that it was using the bane of civil-rights and privacy organisations RFID technology.
However, if you click on the MINUTE text “privacy” in the lower right hand corner you get told that you can “choose” to not provide personal information when getting the new card, and have an anonymous card.
The way they hide it away using tiny text, in a non-obvious location, is quite plainly unethical!
It should be prominently displayed as one of the menu items at the top of the page. [To all intents it looks so much like a copyright disclaimer that people are likely to miss it.]
If you are living in the Netherlands when this gets introduced [by the end of 2005] then INSIST on not giving your personal details and INSIST on getting an anonymous ov-chipkaart.

2 thoughts on “OV-chipkaart: A tool of Big-Brother

  1. Michiel says:

    After reading your post and looking at the site I went and thought about it for a while.

    for me, the ‘privacy’ link was fairly obvious, while you are right it is in an odd location it does set it apart. Since it is also the only link there it tends to stand out (for me).

    And lastly, I don’t think RFID is evil technology per se. It can possibly be used for evil, but doesn’t that hold true for all technology from the wheel up? With proper encryption and security measures I would be the first in line for a personalised OV-chip, as it allows for automatic recharging.
    In lieu of security and encryption I’ll take the anonymous route, of course, and knowing the NS/dutch public transport I’ll probably be traveling anonymously 😉


  2. Keitaro says:

    You have given a more cogent voice to my concerns.
    I doubt that the security will be as tough as they will hype it to be.
    I will be keeping my ear to the gound to see what the cypherpunks say when the specs are leaked.
    As we already know you can pick up a weak bluetooth signal about 1km away, with the right equipment. [People can then have access to you phonebook etc.]
    Even though Nokia, Sony-Ericsson, et. al. claim a signal is only strong enough for for a couple of meters.

    With RFID the card can be read from a distance. That is its value-add™.
    I believe the tech is RF induction, or some such, to provide both the power and the carrier.
    I am not that concerned with my details being on a card, my present OV card has my address and d.o.b. but more that having these on details that can be picked up remotely effectively allows for the tracking of individuals.
    I doubt that the Dutch government would openly condone such a thing, but with the AIVD claiming that domestic terrorists threaten the Netherlands, I would not be surprised if law enforcement would take advantage of the oportunity.
    But I do agree that RFID techology can be used for good™.
    One application I can see is having RFID in bank pin cards to replace chipknip/chipper for small amount payments.
    This can easily be done without having to store any personal details.
    [It would be convenient for people parking cars in A’dam. No more gunged up parking meters! Just vaguely wave your card in front of it and have some amount deducted]
    Also supermarket bonus card schemes. But only if they store a user id number that can then be reconciled at the head office.
    [They already monitor you buying habits. So you have a lost a little liberty anyway ;-)]


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