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Privacy First's stance on gag orders

Under the Corona Emergency Act, the government has the option to introduce all kinds of restrictive measures, including a wide-ranging requirement for mouth caps, unless the House of Representatives rejects it this week.

That is exactly our appeal to the Chamber.

Mouth caps?

On 19 November last year, the cabinet approved the Regulation on additional mouthpiece obligations covid-19 submitted to. Under this regulation, the wearing of face masks in numerous locations (including shops, railway stations, airports and education) will become mandatory from 1 December next. Periodically, this duty will be extendable by the Cabinet - without the consent of Parliament. Based on the Corona Emergency Act, the parliament has seven days to exercise a veto right and prevent the entry into force of a broad face mask obligation. No later than November 26 this vote and the proposed mouthpiece requirement could be rejected.

The wearing of mouth caps has been the subject of much public debate for months. The position of both the government and the RIVM has repeatedly been that wearing a non-medical mouth mask is hardly effective in controlling the coronavirus. Scientists seem to be divided on this issue. At the same time, wearing mouth caps can also be counterproductive, i.e. actually harm people's health. What does have consensus is that the compulsory wearing of a mouth mask is, in a legal sense, an invasion of privacy and self-determination. This thus falls under the purview of Privacy First. The right to privacy is a universal human right protected in the Netherlands by international and European treaties as well as by our national Constitution. Any infringement of the right to privacy must therefore be strictly necessary, proportionate and effective. If not, there is an unjustified infringement and therefore a violation of the right to privacy as a human and fundamental right.

Avoid a commitment

As long as the wearing of non-medical face masks to combat the coronavirus has not proven effective and may even have adverse health effects, there can be no social need for the introduction of a general duty to wear face masks. Indeed, such a duty would then amount to a social experiment with unforeseen consequences. This has no place in a free democratic constitutional state.

Privacy First therefore advises the House of Representatives to reject the proposed regulation to introduce the duty to wear mouthpieces and continue wearing mouthpieces on a voluntary basis.