Machine translations by Deepl, 19 November 2014: 'Privacy advocates critical of 'crowbar control' DIY stores'

"The police in the Ede region will use camera footage from DIY stores to watch customers buying crowbars and large screwdrivers. In this way, officers believe they will be able to detect burglars and even deter them from committing new crimes. Eden police hope this will be followed nationwide. Privacy advocates are critical of the measure.

Fourteen DIY stores in Ede, Wageningen, Barneveld and Veenendaal want to cooperate with the police, providing images of people buying suspicious tools such as screwdrivers, sledgehammers and chisels. If police see persons they know from previous burglaries on the camera footage, they will address the criminals. This way, the police will let them know that they are being watched, in the hope of preventing new burglaries.

Question marks
Privacy expert Vincent Böhre of the Privacy First foundation questions the measures. 'Burglaries, of course, can also be seen as a gross form of privacy violations, so it is good if the police counter that,' Böhre thinks. 'However, I wonder if this is the best way to do that. After all, most people who come to the DIY store are not burglars, and their images are also stored.'

'Those not known to be criminals have nothing to fear,' the police say. 'Of course, anyone can buy tools. Of buyers who are not known to us, we do not have names and surnames either. We only look if we see known burglars or ram-raiders.'

'The judiciary tells that story all the time now,' says lawyer Bart Nooitgedagt, 'but it does mean that the government is storing images of ordinary citizens just because they are shopping.' Nooitgedagt is deeply concerned about the privacy aspects of the new measure 'In this way, the limits of the law are being stretched again. I would urge all citizens not to buy anything more from these DIY stores.'

(...) Both Böhre and Nooitgedagt are very curious as to whether the Dutch Data Protection Authority considers the measure lawful. When asked, the CBP said it did not yet wish to comment on the matter."

Source:, 19 November 2014.