Who is who

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Ministerie van Verkeer en Waterstaat

Trans Link Systems

Trans Link Systems, TLS for short, is a private company ("b.v.") which has the sole mission to implement a single payment system for public transport: the OV-chipkaart. After a tender process, TLS selected the East-West consortium as the provider of their infrastructure.

TLS is founded and owned by 5 public transport companies in the Netherlands[1][2]:

  • NS (55%) (national railway company, 100% owned by the federal government)
  • Connexxion (20%) (busses, 100% owned by the federal government)
  • GVB (10%) (metro, tram and busses in Amsterdam, 100% owned by the municipality ("gemeente") Amsterdam)
  • RET (10%) (metro, tram and busses in Rotterdam, 100% owned by the municipality ("gemeente") Rotterdam)
  • HTM (5%) (tram and busses in The Hague, 100% owned by the municipality ("gemeente") The Hague, though 33% of this is via the intermediary NV Haagse Buurtspoorwegen, which is 100% owned by the municipality The Hague)

Together these companies have over 80% market share. As can be seen, via a number of intermediaries, the Dutch government as a whole is 100% owner of TLS.

The following public transport companies are not shareholder, but if the OV-chipkaart is implemented nationwide, they will have to implement it as well:

East-West Consortium

East-West e-Ticketing B.V. is a consortium in which the following companies participate:

  • Thales, an (IT) systems builder in the aerospace, defence and security markets;
  • Vialis, a subdisiary of VolkerWessels, a construction company in the public transport industry; and
  • Accenture, a management consultancy company.

Two important subcontractors are the following Hong Kong based companies:

The infrastructure that East-West offered to TLS and which won the tender, incorporated the use of mifare ultralight and mifare classic chips, which are produced by NXP.

NXP Semiconductors

NXP is a huge multinational semiconductor company, founded by Philips (NXP is the formerly Philips Semiconductors). It has its headquarters in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. One of the many products that NXP makes is RFID chips.

One particular family of RFID products is the mifare family, which contains among others the ultralight and the classic, which are used in the OV-chipkaart system. The security of the mifare classic chip is subject of discussion.

NXP also produces the SmartMX, an RFID smart card which is used in the Dutch passport.

Other institutes


TNO is a large Dutch non-academic research institute, with focus on applied sciences.

In the past, TNO has been involved in the security of the OV-chipkaart.[3] The precise involvement is not publicly known.

In 2008, it has been asked by TLS to perform various evaluations of security aspects of the OV-chipkaart.

  • Prompted by the German classic crack, it was asked to verify the claims of the Germans. This evaluation was finished on January 14, 2008 and sent to TLS on January 16, 2008. The evaluation said the claims of the Germans are credible.
  • Prompted by the Radboud ultraligt crack, it was asked to perform an overall evaluation of the ov-chipkaart, which is due end of February, 2008.

The impartiality and independence of TNO is subject of discussion. In its evaluations for TLS, it may have to judge about the quality of a system which (allegedly) is in part designed by TNO itself. In another dossier, electronic voting machines in the Netherlands, TNO had also been in the role of both designer and evaluator. TNO was not particularly praised for how it handled its double role in that dossier.[4]

Dutch Data Protection Authority


Radboud University Nijmegen

The Computer Science department of the Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands is involved in the OV-chipkaart in a few ways.

Peter Dolron of the TechnoCentrum of the Radboud University built the hardware of the Ghost device, which plays a role in the Radboud Ultralight crack.

Roel Verdult, a computer science student, is author of the Radboud Ultralight crack, which allows unlimited free travel on the OV-chipkaart system, and which cannot be (easily) fixed.

Bart Jacobs, professor software security and correctness, is a signee of an open expert letter[5] about the OV-chipkaart.

Wouter Teepe commented on the various hacks of the OV-chipkaart in NOVA on January 15, 2008.

Wouter Teepe and Roel Verdult were heard as an experts in the Dutch House of Representatives about the OV-chipkaart, on January 16, 2008.

The computer science department is also facilitator of this website (the ovchip wiki).

The computer science department has a background in smart card security, and played an advisory role in the introduction of the new Dutch passport which has RFID smart card technology built in.

Universiteit van Amsterdam (UVA)

Pieter Siekerman and Maurits van der Schee, the authors of the UVA Ultralight crack, were at the time of the crack students System and Network Engineering at the Universiteit van Amsterdam (UVA for short).

Maurits van der Schee is a signee of an open expert letter[5] about the OV-chipkaart.

VU University Amsterdam

Melanie Rieback is a researcher at the department of computer science of the VU University Amsterdam (Vrije Universiteit, VU for short). Her research focuses on security and privacy in Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). She is not involved in hacking the OV-chipkaart. January 16, 2008, she was heard as an expert in the Dutch House of Representatives about the OV-chipkaart.

Andy Tanenbaum and Melanie Rieback are signees of an open expert letter[5] about the OV-chipkaart.

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Henryk Plötz, one of the authors of the German Classic Crack, is student at the Institut für Informatik of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

University of Virginia

Karsten Nohl, one of the authors of the German Classic Crack, is PhD student at the Computer Science Department of the University of Virginia.


Chaos Computer Club

The Chaos Computer Club, CCC for short, is Europe's largest hacker group. They organised the 24th Chaos Communication Congress at which Karsten Nohl and Henryk Plötz presented the German Classic Crack.

Rop Gonggrijp

Rop Gonggrijp (personal blog) is a known Dutch hacker. He is not involved in hacking the OV-chipkaart. However, he has a clear opinion about open (security) design of public infrastructe, and about privacy (of which he is an outspoken proponent).

On January 9, 2008, he published an open expert letter[5] about the OV-chipkaart. On January 16, 2008, he was heard as an expert in the Dutch House of Representatives about the OV-chipkaart.


  1. OV-bedrijven kibbelen over nieuwe chipkaart, NMagazine, Nummer 3, november 2006
  2. Zaak 3877: Informele zienswijze OV-chipkaartsysteem, Nederlandse Mededingingsautoriteit, 27-07-2006
  3. De Pers, vrijdag 11 januari 2008, p. 3
  4. Stemmachines, een verweesd dossier, Rapport van de Commissie Besluitvorming Stemmachines, L.M.L.H.A. Hermans en M.J.W. van Twist, april 2007
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Infrastructuur voor openbare diensten vereist veiligheid en transparantie, 9 januari 2008