If there is one thing that we here in The Netherlands are good at, it is data collection. Our records are so meticulous, we know basically everything of everyone. And now they want to go through all that data to hunt for criminals.
Minister of Internal Affairs Ronald Plasterk is defending the new proposed law by saying the datamining only happens with a directive search query; and that there will be no trawling through the meta-data. But for how long? It is very easy to do just that. Who is going to oversee that, once a search is being sanctioned?
The proposed law is a slippery slope with too many negative side effects. First of all, a lot of data of innocent people will be collected. Indeed, with the current “phone tap law” this also happens (the other side of the phone is usually not part of the investigation) but with datamining it will be happening on a much larger scale.
And what happens to the data once it has been collected? Where does it get stored, for how long and how do we know that the data is not being used at a later time? Of course we trust the current government with the storage of our data, but can we trust a future government?
There is one other thing: the cost of it all. Besides the costs for data storage, there will also be an increase in the costs for the actual taps. The Nationale Beheersorganisatie Internet Providers (NBIP) helps ISP with complying with a data-tap injunction. ISPs make costs to carry out that tap, for which they get a fixed monetary compensation. Once there will be more data-tap injunctions, the costs will increase. Is the government going to pay for that, or will it be charged to the customers of the ISP in the end? I guess we all know the answer.
Our security (and this time I mean our physical security, not network security) is very important and with the latest terrorist attacks, it is easy to understand that there is a feeling that we need more security which automatically seems to be translated into less privacy. This proposed law, however, is not the way that this should be done.