Call against central database of prostitution
This afternoon, the Privacy First Foundation sent the following email to the Senate:
Honourable Upper House members,
Recently, the international Amsterdam Privacy Conference 2012 place. In his opening speech at this conference, Lodewijk Asscher mainly addressed the current bill regulating prostitution. At this, Asscher expressed the expectation that the intended registration of prostitutes will lead to lawsuits all the way to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Stichting Privacy First shares this expectation. We therefore hereby make an urgent appeal to you not to let it come to that and to support the bill during the plenary session on Tuesday, 30 October next. to dismiss. Privacy First submits the following grounds to this effect:
- Mandatory registration of prostitutes will lead to a shift of prostitution to the illegal circuit. Thus, this bill will have a counterproductive effect, with all the associated risks for the prostitutes concerned. As a result, the social (legal) position of prostitutes will be further weakened instead of strengthened.
- Mandatory registration of prostitutes violates the right to privacy. This is, after all, registration of sensitive personal data. This is prohibited under Section 16 of the PDPA and constitutes a violation of Article 8 ECHR.
- Registration of prostitutes has a stigmatising effect. Moreover, the safety of this registration cannot possibly be guaranteed and there is the danger of function creep. Therefore, the supposed benefits of registration do not outweigh the risks of data breaches, hacking, unauthorised and adventitious use, now and in the future. Moreover, new risks of abuse and blackmail arise from this.
- Fighting crime and human trafficking should not be done through risky registration of prostitutes, but through more effective detection, prosecution and trial of the perpetrators without endangering the victims. It is up to the Minister to develop alternative privacy-friendly instruments to this end, in consultation with relevant civil society organisations.
If requested, we are happy to provide further clarification on the above points.
Privacy First Foundation
Update 30 October 2012: this afternoon, the Senate heavily criticised (in particular) the privacy aspects of compulsory registration of prostitutes. In response, Minister Opstelten decided to reconsider. With this, compulsory registration seems to be off the table. Further discussion of other parts of the bill is postponed until further notice. Click HERE for an audio recording of the parliamentary debate up to the time of adjournment (mp3, 2h53m, 119 MB).
Update 31 October 2012: Click HERE for a verbatim report of the debate.