Privacy Coalition calls for greater awareness and action to protect digital privacy
Let the Netherlands not only lead the way in digitalisation, but at the same time be a leader in digital privacy and better protection for people. Make people aware of the risks, set a good example yourself and provide sufficient privacy-friendly alternatives. A broad coalition of organisations and companies made that call today to the Lower House in a manifesto.
The new Privacy Coalition notes in a joint manifesto that more and more digital platforms, services and apps are collecting users' data without them realising it. That data is resold and linked and then used to track people, track and influence their online behaviour. "This creates a digital profile on the basis of which companies and even governments make decisions that have a major impact on our lives, without our control," the coalition said. It also warns of further polarisation in society as people are no longer in control of what information they can and cannot see online.
Freedom of choice
Legislation to curb the unbridled use of personal data is being drafted at both European and national levels. But we are not going to make it with regulation and supervision alone; developments are moving so fast that we will always be behind the times, argues the Privacy Coalition.
The Privacy Coalition asks the House of Representatives' Standing Committee on Digital Affairs to be much more active in raising awareness among people about the importance of digital privacy. The government, but also the business community, could set a good example in this itself by only using digital platforms and services that respect privacy. The coalition also advocates more support for privacy-friendly alternatives, so that people have freedom of choice.
"We see digital platforms getting more and more dexterous in collecting data from users without being transparent about it," says Haykush Hakobyan of Privacy First, one of the initiators of the Privacy Coalition. "People think the services are free, but they are unknowingly paying a high price with their personal data. We need to stop that trend now. It is a social responsibility of companies, organisations and governments to actively engage in digital privacy. There are plenty of technological options to be digitally active without violating privacy."
Hakobyan called on the House of Representatives to organise a technical briefing with providers of privacy-friendly solutions. "Recently, the Lower House held a hearing with Google and Facebook, among others. It is now time to also give the floor to parties that do respect people's privacy." The Privacy Coalition invited the digital committee of the House of Representatives to keep talking and find solutions.
Lisa van Ginneken, who sits on the Digital Affairs Committee on behalf of D66: "As far as I am concerned, privacy is non-negotiable. It is a basic principle that guarantees our freedom and our right not to be spied upon. In physical space but also on the internet. Digital human rights are not a capstone but a starting point of any technological development."
Download the current manifesto here (pdf) of the Privacy Coalition with all co-signatories.