The Press, 9 June 2011: 'Privacy is the new green'
Whereas privacy was mute a few years ago, now the subject is sexy in the Netherlands. Perhaps more than ever.
"Due in part to civil rights organisations Bits of Freedom and Privacy First, privacy has been a hot issue in the House of Representatives - and beyond - recently.
In any case, they played an important role in putting the issue 'on the map' (...). Bits of Freedom was reconstituted in 2009 and works with 300 volunteers. The organisation is also behind the Big Brother Awards, the awards for biggest privacy violators in the Netherlands. The Awards have attracted a lot of attention in recent years.
Privacy First has existed since late 2009 and has mainly focused on fingerprinting. Both clubs have been in the media a lot over the past year, or 'fed' journalists and MPs behind the scenes.
But not only the civil rights organisations, even a traditional club like the Consumers' Association has recently been focusing more on privacy. And then there is the Dutch Data Protection Authority (CBP), which has been much more active in recent years, taking politicians and companies to task more often if they are a bit sloppy with personal data. Google had to deal with them (Streetview), as did the Ministry of Health (EPD).
'Outsiders' also see the change, such as German journalist Frederik Hartig, who has lived in the Netherlands for some time. 'Since a year there has been an increasing focus on privacy in the Dutch media,' he says. In Germany, it has been a big issue for much longer."