Capturing Licence Plates: Police-Citizen Interaction Apps From an EU Data Protection Perspective

Milaj, Jonida, and Gerard Jan Ritsema van Eck. 2020. ‘Capturing Licence Plates: Police-Citizen Interaction Apps from an EU Data Protection Perspective’. International Review of Law, Computers & Technology 34 (1): 1–21. Doi: 10.1080/13600869.2019.1600335.

University of Groningen Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 33/2019

24 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2019 Last revised: 7 Mar 2020

See all articles by Jonida Milaj

Jonida Milaj

University of Groningen - Faculty of Law

Gerard Jan Ritsema van Eck

University of Groningen - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2020

Abstract

A Pokémon Go-like smartphone app called ‘Automon’ was unveiled in October 2017 as one of several new initiatives to increase the public’s contribution and engagement in police investigations in the Netherlands. Automon is designed in the form of a game that instigates participants to photograph license plates to find out if a vehicle is stolen. The participants in the game score points for each license plate photographed, and may also qualify for a financial reward if a vehicle is actually stolen. In addition, when someone reports that a vehicle has been recently stolen, game participants that are in the vicinity receive a push notification and are tasked with searching for that particular vehicle and license plate. This paper studies the example of the Automon app and contributes to the existing debate on crowdsourced surveillance and the involvement of individuals in law enforcement activities from an EU law perspective. It analyses the lawfulness of initiatives that proactively require individuals to be involved in law enforcement activities and confronts them for the first time with European Union (EU) data protection standards. It is concluded that the Automon app design does not meet the new legal standards.

Keywords: Police Directive, GDPR, surveillance, participatory surveillance, crowdsourcing, ANPR

Suggested Citation

Milaj, Jonida and Ritsema van Eck, Gerard Jan, Capturing Licence Plates: Police-Citizen Interaction Apps From an EU Data Protection Perspective (2020). Milaj, Jonida, and Gerard Jan Ritsema van Eck. 2020. ‘Capturing Licence Plates: Police-Citizen Interaction Apps from an EU Data Protection Perspective’. International Review of Law, Computers & Technology 34 (1): 1–21. Doi: 10.1080/13600869.2019.1600335., University of Groningen Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 33/2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3376517

Jonida Milaj

University of Groningen - Faculty of Law ( email )

9700 AS Groningen
Netherlands

Gerard Jan Ritsema van Eck (Contact Author)

University of Groningen - Faculty of Law ( email )

Oude Kijk in 't Jatstraat 26
Groningen, 9712 EK
Netherlands
+3150 363 2593 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.rug.nl/staff/g.j.ritsema.van.eck/

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