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Privacy First's objections to Opstelten's hacking plans

Earlier this year minister Opstelten came up with the unholy plan to give the police the power to be able to access your computer (at home and abroad!) hack and also to be able to require you to decrypt your encrypted files in the presence of uncle agent and obediently hand them over to the State. In the context of a internet consultation Privacy First informed the minister that we have a number of principled objections to his plans:


The Privacy First Foundation hereby advises you to withdraw the draft bill 'Strengthening the fight against computer crime' for eleven principled reasons: 

  1. In our view, this draft bill is a typical building block for a police state, not for a democratic rule of law based on freedom and trust.
  2. The Netherlands has a general human rights duty to constantly uphold the right to privacy promote rather than limiting. By this bill, the Netherlands is violating this general duty.
  3. This bill is not strictly necessary (as opposed to possibly "useful" or "convenient") in a democratic society. The bill thus violates Article 8 ECHR.
  4. This bill also removes the ban on self-incrimination (nemo tenetur) trampled on.
  5. Function creep (goal shifting) is a universal phenomenon. The same will be true of this bill. The bill thus lays the foundation for future abuse of power.
  6. This bill puts the trust relationship between the Dutch government and the Dutch people on edge. This will lead to a social chilling effect.
  7. This bill puts classic achievements such as freedom of the press and journalistic source protection, whistleblowers, freedom of expression, free information gathering, confidential communication and the right to a fair trial under serious pressure. This is disastrous for the dynamics in a free democratic constitutional state.
  8. This bill and associated technology will be imported and abused by less democratic regimes abroad. The bill thus sets an international precedent for a global Rule of the Jungle instead of the Rule of law.
  9. As yet, the bill lacks a thorough and independent Privacy Impact Assessment.
  10. This bill creates an impetus for suboptimal (to be cracked by the government, otherwise illegal?) rather than optimal ('un-crackable') ICT security.
  11. Tackling cybercrime requires multilateral cooperation and coordination rather than unilateral 'panic football' like this bill.


Privacy First Foundation