josh on Tue, 22 May 2001 09:12:51 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-nl] TELEPOLIS: Dutch law enforcement should get easier access to

personal data stored by companies

Dieser TELEPOLIS Artikel wurde Ihnen
von Jos Horikx <> gesandt.

FWD van 

 Dutch law enforcement should get easier access to personal data stored 
by companies
 Jelle van Buuren 21.05.2001 
 Police wants to screen whole groups of citizens to see if they can 
establish criminal patterns 
  Dutch police can get easier access to personal information of clients 
stored in company's databases. All the information stored by companies 
will be available to the police, proposes the commission Mevis in a 
report [0] launched at Monday last week. The minister of Justice said 
he would adopt the proposals in new legislation.  
 According to the commission, lead by Professor P. Mevis, the current 
investigative powers no longer satisfy the needs of the police in the 
information society. Privacy rules are often an obstacle, as are legal 
definitions, which are not adjusted to the digital developments. 
Companies don't know what their obligations are. In many cases 
companies cooperate voluntary in providing confidential client 
information. But according to the commission Mevis, this situation is 
not acceptable for both parties. 
 The commission therefore proposes new investigative powers for the 
police. Police officers should, without the need of a legal order, get 
the power to ask personal information like name, address, living place, 
client number, bank account, access codes, and registration plate. The 
personal information does not have to belong to suspects; the police 
are authorised to ask this kind of information for a group of persons, 
to investigate networks and communications, and floods of money or 
goods. This is called pro-active investigation: the screening by police 
of whole groups of citizens to see if they can establish criminal 
 A whole range of companies will be forced to work with the police: 
telephone companies, Internet providers, lease companies, car rental 
companies, travelling agencies, flying companies, garages, real estate 
agencies, credit card companies, insurance companies, mortgagors, 
transport companies, banks, accountants, chemical industry, chambers of 
commerce, educational institutes, art houses, hospitals, hotels and 
 Location data that will give information where persons or goods were 
on certain times, which for instance are stored by warehouses and super 
markets (bonus cards!), telephone companies, travel companies, credit 
card companies and banks, also have to be given to the police. For this 
kind of information a legal order by the public prosecutor is needed 
and there has to be the suspicion of a crime punishable by four years 
or more. 'Sensitive information', like information on political 
believes, race, health, sexual habits or membership of trade unions, 
can be demanded when there is a serious breach of the legal order. 
 The commission further proposes the power to ask for 'future data', so 
companies will be obliged to give every bit of new information they 
obtain in the future. Companies can also get the obligation to work up 
their registers or database to analyse or combine all bits of 
 The commission and the minister of Justice said at the time of the 
release of the report that the proposals strike a 'fair balance' 
between the needs of the law enforcement authorities, the companies and 
the protection of privacy. According to civil liberties groups, the 
proposals only reflect the wishes of police. 'The law enforcement 
authorities drew up their list of presents and they got them all. This 
proposals means a huge increase in the power of police, with little or 
none means of control,' commented Bits of Freedom. 
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