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Privacy First views resonate in Senate debate on digital data processing

An important policy debate with Minister Donner and State Secretary Teeven on 'the role of government in digital data processing' took place in the Senate this week. In the week before the debate, Privacy First had published its expressed views on the matter to the Senate. We are pleased that many of these views were adopted 'across the House' this week (even verbatim by some parties) and that even government ministers Donner and Teeven did not appear to be insensitive to them. This applies both to classic rights and principles that needed to be reaffirmed and to some new principles:

- The right to explicit, prior and fully informed consent of citizens when their personal data is used, both by public authorities and companies;

- strict purpose limitation and necessity when using personal data;

- the right of citizens to access, correct and, if necessary, delete their personal data; 

- privacy, freedom of choice, transparency and effectiveness as guiding principles when drafting new legislation;

- The importance of review and sunset clauses in (new) legislation;

- public cost-benefit analyses;

- disclosure of departmental feasibility studies, pilots and research reports;

- introduction of privacy impact assessments (PIAs) and privacy by design;

- supporting the legislative process through expert meetings and external advice.

However, very disappointing was Minister Donner's statement that destroying stored fingerprints at municipalities was going to take months more. The same goes for the fact that there is still no 'fingerprint-free' identity card; this too could have been implemented long ago. Privacy First recently had urged the minister to carry out this process with the utmost urgency (either through amendment of relevant regulations or technical modifications).

The draft stenogram of the parliamentary debate is available HERE online. Our own audio recordings of the debate are HERE download. A large number of interesting passages from the debate (both from MPs and ministers) can be found HERE.