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Civil Rights Platform: 'House should declare controversial NCTV bill controversial'

The outgoing cabinet's plan to give the NCTV sweeping surveillance powers should be shelved until a new cabinet is formed, according to the Civil Rights Protection Platform.

"Setting up a new intelligence service is a step that could be taken purely by a new government." The Platform said in a letter to the House of Representatives.

In April 2021, NRC revealed that the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security (NCTV) has been tracking citizens for years without legal authority, creating files on them and sharing them with other parties. In response, the outgoing cabinet went on steam and boiling water to legitimise these practices through a bill broadening the NCTV's powers.

Regarding this proposal, which is now before the Council of State after an unprecedentedly short consultation period, the Civil Rights Platform writes in a letter to the House of Representatives that, as a matter of principle, it is not up to a caretaker government to submit a proposal that has such a major impact on citizens' fundamental rights. The proposal should therefore be declared controversial by the House of Representatives and should only be debated again after a new government has been installed.

Moreover, consideration of this proposal anyway would be a misunderstanding of the weighty reasons for the resignation of the current government. For a government that resigned because the Allowances affair used illegal surveillance methods to erode the legal protection of thousands of families, it does not befit a new proposal that allows such far-reaching violations of fundamental rights.

"This proposal shows that the laconic attitude towards citizens' privacy that could lead to the Supplements Affair has not been buried with the resignation of this government. The Platform considers it the responsibility of your chamber to stop the government in this and not allow it to rule over its grave. The resignation of the government with all the weighty reasons behind it loses meaning if such a proposal by the same government would now be treated as if it were business as usual.", said Platform secretary Ronald Huissen.

Read here the letter (pdf) which it Civil Rights Platform sent to the House of Representatives.

About the Civil Rights Protection Platform

The Civil Rights Protection Platform was established in 2009 on the initiative of the Humanist Alliance. Since then, the Platform has formed a network and coalition of organisations (including Privacy First) that are united in seeking to better safeguard and strengthen civil rights in the Netherlands, in particular the right to protection of privacy and bodily integrity, digital autonomy and control over personal data.

Several successful actions, lawsuits and campaigns have been initiated and developed from the Platform since 2009, including actions and lawsuits against the mandatory collection and storage of fingerprints under the Passport Act, the campaign on medical privacy, the lawsuit against the System Risk Indication (SyRI) and the associated Platform campaign Side-by-side