Trouw, research platform Investico and De Groene Amsterdammer report this after studying dozens of protester files. “The right to demonstrate is at stake,” Professor of Privacy and Cybercrime at Leiden University told Trouw about the research.
The research was carried out with the help of 67 activists who, for example, are campaigning for the climate (Extinction Rebellion) or anti-racism (Kick Out Zware Piet). For the past two years, people have been able to inquire whether and, if so, how often their data from the Municipal Personal Records Database (BRP) has been requested by government agencies.
Needed for police work
The police have the right to extract data from the BRP. Addresses, citizen service numbers and, for example, dates of birth can be found there for all Dutch people. This data may be required for all kinds of police work, such as tracing suspects or processing reports.
The only question is why the police so often requested personal data from demonstrators. For example, the prominent corona protester Michel Reijinga saw that his personal data had been requested and viewed more than 1400 times by the police in two years.
Ten of the 67 activists have never been arrested. Nevertheless, their information was requested by the police. And the police also requested the personal details of family members. Why? According to Trouw, the police ‘could not explain this properly’.
Lawyer Bénédicte Ficq, who recently joined the climate movement Extinction Rebellion, tells Trouw that she finds all this ‘frightening’. “It looks like a police state,” says Ficq.
Pain point for years
It is not the first time that the way in which the police handle personal data has been in the news. Last summer it turned out that the police keep personal data of about nine million Dutch people for no reason. Concerns had already been raised about that ‘subscription to persons’ in 2015, but the system has not changed since then.
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