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Sensor Registry makes data mining in Amsterdam's public space more transparent

Sensor Registry makes data mining in Amsterdam’s public space more transparent

The Amsterdam municipality will require owners of sensors and cameras in public places to report and register from December 1, in order to provide transparency in a digital overview of the location and purpose of these “objects”. This makes it the first municipality to take this step. With this regulation, the Amsterdam municipality hopes to facilitate discussion around surveillance in public spaces and prevent “chaos”.

So far, the Amsterdam municipality has had little insight into third-party sensors in the public space. When using sensors, companies comply with laws and regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and criminal law, but ultimately the responsibility for installing sensors is theirs to sensors that collect data in or around public places. .

This was undesirable, according to the city of Amsterdam. It is now the first Dutch municipality to impose a general notification obligation for professional purpose sensors with regulatory notification compliance sensors. The general local bylaw has been amended for this purpose.

Owners of sensors and cameras must inform the municipality of this five days in advance, indicating the location and purpose of the sensor (optical). This relates only to sensors for professional purposes, sensors are excluded for domestic use, maintenance of public order and the investigation of criminal offenses. After the examination, the sensor or camera appears on the digital map, and according to a municipality spokesperson, the process ends in principle.

Talk about monitoring

The municipality of Amsterdam hopes to provide insight and transparency regarding the location and use of sensors for residents, business people and visitors to its city. According to the municipality, it can also raise awareness of the presence of sensors and facilitate discussion about surveillance in public places. A while ago, there were billboards in Amsterdam that interacted with passersby through the camera. It would be nice if you could then use our sensor register to see how to arrange this.

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‘Crowding’, as the municipality calls the sensor and camera array, can also be prevented, because existing sensors can be reused with the online record and there are no sensors for the same purpose in the same location. Finally, Amsterdam sees an opportunity to spur innovation, because organizations will share sensors and/or data with each other more.

next step

The Amsterdam municipality has been striving to establish a regulation for sensors for some time. The moment the General Data Protection Regulation came into force nationwide on May 25, 2018, the municipality immediately began designating its own sensors that process personal data. This internal reporting system, which also takes the form of a digital map of Amsterdam, has become the processing of personal data in public places.

Sensor register is the next step. The next six months after December 1 will be a transitional period in which sensor owners will still be given time to register. Starting from 1 June 2022, the City of Amsterdam will implement this effectively. Discussions are underway with the Monitoring and Enforcement Department for this matter, based on the principle that it will not lead to any additional work for them. Implementation of the regulation mainly focuses on “things” that are not notified.

Most sensors are generally connected to something, like an interface. This is a good starting point if we want to know who owns a sensor or a camera,” the spokesperson said. If it still isn’t really clear, we can work with warning labels that we also use on suspected “orphan bikes.” An object permit is required to be able to attach sensors to poles Municipal lighting The municipality already knows who the owner is.

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