Digital Legal Lab

frederik zuiderveen borgesius voices concerns at dutch parliamentary hearing on new counterterrorism bill

31 March 2022

Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius, law professor at Radboud University and a member of the Digital Legal Lab, spoke at a hearing in the Dutch Parliament on a bill to provide a legal basis for the processing of personal data in the context of counterterrorism and national security. He warned that the bill is too vague, raising serious privacy and human rights concerns.

Professor Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius was invited to give his expert opinion at a roundtable in the Dutch Parliament on 31 March, regarding a bill that enables the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security (NCTV) to collect personal data from social media and other sources.

The Council of Ministers agreed to the bill last year, in order to provide a legal basis for the processing of personal data by the NCTV. The Ministry of Justice and Security considers it a necessary security measure to extend the powers of its counterterrorism department, allowing the NCTV to collect and process data from citizens. These powers are currently limited to the General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) and the Military Intelligence and Security Service (MIVD).

Too vague and too broad

In this position paper, Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius and Rowin Jansen question the necessity of granting the NCTV the power to track citizens online for counterterrorism purposes. In addition, they warn that the bill is too vague and too broad and that it lacks proper safeguards.

Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius was invited to speak at a roundtable discussing the bill in Parliament. He voiced his concerns regarding the protection of citizens’ privacy and human rights, emphasizing that it is currently completely unclear what the limits of the NCTV’s powers will be, how exactly the NCTV will use its extended powers, or how the data processing activities by the NCTV will be monitored.

Watch the hearing

Watch Frederik’s presentation (in Dutch) below, or click here for more information and a recording of the hearing.