BNR News Radio, 6 January 2016: 'Dutch privacy protest to European Court'
"The privacy action group 'Citizens against Plasterk' is going to challenge the Dutch government's eavesdropping practices through the European Court of Human Rights. "The immediate cause is the eavesdropping practices in which the US NSA gobbles up all our data and gives some of that illegal data to the Dutch intelligence services."
The court has admitted the [coalition, including Privacy First,] to an ongoing UK proceedings of Big Brother Watch, an English case revolving around the interception of internet traffic. The Dutch [coalition], which wants to end the use of NSA data by the Dutch intelligence services, has thus won a major victory.
In 2013, it came to light that the US intelligence agency NSA was engaged in illegal eavesdropping, including in the Netherlands. The [coalition] Citizens vs Plasterk says that the Dutch intelligence service AIVD and MIVD get some of the illegal data obtained in the Netherlands from the NSA and wants this to stop.
Lawyer Christiaan Alberdingk Thijm assists the [coalition] and explains why the European Court's decision is so special: "If you want to bring a human rights violation before this European Court, the chances of success are very slim. 94 per cent of the cases that are brought there are immediately rejected. So it is very special that our case is being heard by the European Court of Human Rights."
And so now the Dutch case may join another set of proceedings. Alberdingk Thijm: "We are now being heard as a party in an English case that is very similar to our case. The English could only go to the European Court earlier because all their [national] provisions had already been exhausted. In the Netherlands, you first have to go all the way to the Supreme Court before you can go to the human rights court."
The Dutch case is now still before the Court of Appeal in The Hague, but there is a chance that the entire trip to the Supreme Court can now be skipped. Alberdingk Thijm: "The rulings of the European Court are binding for the Dutch courts. The Hague Court will have to adopt the European Court's ruling, which is likely to have major consequences." So that also means that if the action group is ruled in favour, it will have major consequences for the cooperation between the Dutch and US intelligence services: "It will then no longer be allowed to use the illegal data intercepted by the NSA in the Netherlands."
Source: http://www.bnr.nl/nieuws/juridisch/329530-1601/nederlands-privacyprotest-naar-europees-hof, 6 January 2016.