RTLnieuws.co.uk, 18 March 2013: 'Drones fly out more often; privacy concerns'
“Police are increasingly secretly using unmanned aerial vehicles in the fight against criminals. The so-called drones are used to search for burglars, track getaway cars and track cannabis growers. A handy tool for the police, but there are also privacy concerns.
Mostly they are small helicopters with eight blades, so-called octocopters. Without weapons or spy equipment, but with cameras. The devices are increasingly being deployed. Since 2009, drones have been deployed in 40 different places in the Netherlands on at least 132 different days, according to ministry data reported by the AD.
'God knows what those things are filming'
D66 MP Gerard Schouw has tabled parliamentary questions. He is particularly concerned about citizens' privacy. "I understand that it can be a convenient tool, but there must be a legal basis. And it must be verifiable. Now we know virtually nothing. Is our privacy at stake, for example? How closely are unsuspecting citizens being filmed? Who knows what these things are filming and doing."
Lawyer Vincent Böhre of the Privacy First foundation calls the deployment illegal because the flights are not disclosed. According to him, citizens cannot notice the silent drones with cameras flying overhead. "It is a form of secret camera surveillance and that is prohibited by Dutch law in this way," says Böhre.
"Even under European privacy laws, the government is overstepping its bounds here," Böhre said. A lawsuit against the government is not ruled out by Privacy First.
No armed drones in the Netherlands
Drones were originally weapons of war to conduct reconnaissance flights or shoot down opponents. Military drones are not yet deployable in the skies over Europe. They 'hang out' mainly over Afghanistan, Pakistan and Israel. The type used by police are unarmed.
Source: RTLnews.co.uk, 18 March 2013.