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Appeal and European intervention in Citizens v Plasterk (AIVD/NSA) case

The coalition Citizens vs Plasterk (including Privacy First Foundation) has explained its appeal to the Hague Court of Appeal in the case on the international exchange regime between secret services. The coalition did so in a so-called Memorandum of Grievances submitted to the Court of Appeal in The Hague on 2 February. In this document, our coalition sets out why the judgment of the court of The Hague incorrect.

In its ruling, the court in The Hague ruled, in brief, that cooperation and data exchange based on trust between Dutch secret services and foreign secret services (including the US NSA) may simply continue. According to the court, the interest of national security prevails. In doing so, the court essentially gave the Dutch AIVD and MIVD a carte blanche given to collect large amounts of data of Dutch citizens through foreign intelligence services without any legal protection, purely for the predicate of "national security".

The coalition Citizens vs Plasterk considers this verdict in flagrant violation of the right to privacy and has appealed. Incidentally, the coalition is not seeking to eliminate cooperation with foreign services as such in this case. However, we believe that strict safeguards must be observed when cooperating and when receiving data. Otherwise, data obtained by the NSA and other secret services in violation of Dutch law will illegally end up in the hands of Dutch intelligence services. This amounts to data laundering through an unlawful U-turn construction.

Our lawyer Christiaan Alberdingk Thijm of agency Brandeis: "By using NSA data, illegally obtained data is being laundered by Plasterk and his services. This case should put an end to that."

Read our full Statement of Grievances HERE (pdf).

Now what?

The State will now first have to respond to our grievances in a so-called "Memorandum of Reply". Thereafter, the court will schedule a hearing and rule on the appeal.

Meanwhile, our coalition has also been allowed to intervene in the procedure brought by the British organisation Big Brother Watch and others before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) against the UK. This is an important development, as it will allow the ECtHR to give an early ruling relevant to our Dutch case. Click HERE For the European Court's recent admissibility decision (pdf) and HERE for more information on the UK case on the Court's website.

The Citizens v Plasterk case

Late 2013 summons the coalition Citizens vs Plasterk the Dutch state, represented by Interior Minister Plasterk. The reason is Edward Snowden's revelations about the practices of (foreign) intelligence services. The coalition demands that the State stop using data not obtained in accordance with Dutch law.

The case almost leads to the fall of minister Plasterk. It turns out that Plasterk misinformed the House about the exchange with foreign services. The Dutch services provided 1.8 million data to the Americans and not the other way around, as he had previously proclaimed.

In July 2014, the court rejected the coalition's claims, after which the coalition appealed to the Hague Court of Appeal.

In late 2015, it was announced that the coalition may join a UK court case at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

The participating citizens in the coalition are: Rop Gonggrijp, Jeroen van Beek, Bart Nooitgedagt, Brenno de Winter and Mathieu Paapst. The participating organisations are: Privacy First Foundation, the Dutch Association for Criminal Lawyers (NVSA), the Dutch Association for Journalists (NVJ) and Internet Society Netherlands.

The business will be run from bureau Brandeis handled by our lawyers Christiaan Alberdingk Thijm and Caroline de Vries. They use the resources in the pro bono fund of Brandeis firm for this purpose.

Update 9 February 2016: today the coalition served 'written submissions' in the European Court of Human Rights; click HERE (pdf).