Privacy First has had a turbulent year. At the start of 2018, we organized the Dutch Privacy Awards and they were a great success. Soon this event will take place again. The greatest success of the year, however, was the referendum against the new Dutch Intelligence and Security Services Act (better known as the Tapping Law), which was won by the initiators and their many supporters. Subsequently however, the Dutch government decided to ruthlessly abolish the referendum and Privacy First and others unfortunately were not in a position to prevent the Tapping Law from entering into force almost unaltered. Unless the Dutch government and the House of Representatives decide to thoroughly overhaul the Act, a large scale new lawsuit to challenge it will be on the cards.
In terms of organization, the year has been marked mostly by positive developments. Since the summer, we have a new board of directors, a new advisory board and a new and relatively cheap (small) office on an excellent location. We have switched to privacy-friendly telecom provider Voys. Increasingly, Privacy First is approached by public authorities and companies to cooperate on privacy projects, for example with regard to the infamous European payments directive PSD2, which will soon enter into force in the Netherlands. In addition, Privacy First almost continuously pursues political lobbying and quiet diplomacy. Earlier this year, we’ve lobbied successfully with the Dutch State Commission on the Parliamentary System for the introduction of a binding referendum and a Constitutional Court. Moreover, we’ve made our critical voice heard with regard to the possible introduction of Passenger Name Records (PNR) in aviation and Taser weapons among the Dutch police force. After all, privacy is a broad term and is about much more than data protection only.
However, history has taught us that sustainable privacy protection usually requires legal action at a national or European level. That’s why Privacy First also pursues litigation. Those who’ve been acquainted with us for some time, know that when Privacy First starts legal proceedings, something is really going on - something, to be precise, which isn’t for the better. As soon as large scale privacy violations are imminent, it’s time for Privacy First to step in. This is one such moment. Your support of our operations is indispensable.
Case against ANPR Act
In recent years, Privacy First has regularly warned against the introduction of a new draconian Dutch law which allows for the continuous storage of data relating to travel movements of millions of motorists for four weeks in a central police database, regardless of whether or not these motorists are suspected of any wrongdoing. This is the Automatic Number Plate Recognition Act (ANPR). At the end of 2017, the Dutch Senate adopted this Act, after which Privacy First announced it would initiate legal proceedings. Subsequently, Privacy First had a meeting with the Dutch State Attorney, which was followed by a prolonged silence. Today however, the Dutch government announced it will introduce the ANPR Act as per 1 January 2019. Therefore, Privacy First is currently preparing interim injunction proceedings in order to render this Act inoperative on account of violation of the right to privacy. If necessary, these proceedings will be followed by proceedings which are broader in scope and will deal with the merits of the case. Indeed, this Act is a massive breach of privacy for which there is simply no place in a free and democratic constitutional State. Through Pro Bono Connect, Privacy First has hired law firm CMS to carry out proceedings on our behalf. Ideally, this would happen in coalition with other relevant organizations.
Urgent call for donations
Due to unexpected fundraising setbacks, at present Privacy First urgently needs financial support, including your support as a (potential) donor. The more support we get, the more thorough and therefore the more effective we will be able to conduct these legal proceedings and the more likely it will be we will come out victorious. Would you like to support Privacy First? Donating is very easy on the dedicated page on our website. Otherwise, please donate directly to account number NL95ABNA0495527521 (BIC: ABNANL2A) in the name of Stichting Privacy First in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, stating ‘donation’. Privacy First is recognized by the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration as an Institution for General Benefit (ANBI). Therefore your donations are tax-deductible.
In recent years, Privacy First has had a lot of positive influence thanks to your support. We hope to be able to count on you once again!
Privacy First wishes you happy holidays and a privacy-friendly 2019!
Please donate on IBAN account number NL95ABNA0495527521 in the name of Stichting Privacy First in Amsterdam.
Many people feel disquieted about the ever increasing infringement of their privacy and are willing to do something about it, but they don’t know how. Support the Privacy First Foundation by giving advice, undertaking action and/or making a donation in order for the Foundation and its volunteers, lawyers, legal experts and scientists to be able to continue to work on a privacy-friendly future.
The Privacy First Foundation has been recognized by the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration as an Institution for General Benefit (Algemeen Nut Beogende Instelling, ANBI). In general, your donations to Privacy First are therefore entirely tax-deductible. You can verify your own financial situation on the website of the Tax and Customs Administration accessing this special page for making calculations (in Dutch). There is also a private website about Institutions for General Benefit (Dutch only). All your gifts to Privacy First are tax-deductible as long as they are higher than 1% and lower than 10% of your threshold income. The only thing you need to do is actually deduct the donation and save the account statement. In case you make a donation to Privacy First, it is advisable to use the word ‘donation’ as a reference for there never to arise any confusion with the Tax and Customs Administration.
It’s all about being effective. Therefore the Privacy First Foundation files lawsuits and takes legal action aiming at the amendment of laws that lead our society in the wrong direction. Furthermore, we sometimes organise campaigns to alert the public, like our successful GemeenteGarantieBrief ('Municipality Guarantee Letter') campaign in relation to the Dutch Passport Act. Of course we also cooperate with other privacy organisations, legal experts, scientists, human rights organisations and private individuals where possible.
A lawsuit is so expensive that in fact the government feels entirely free to constrain your freedom indefinitely. Surely, no ordinary citizen can wait for 8 years and spend 200,000 Euros on a court case. What’s more, the government can spend an unrestricted amount of money on legal action, that is to say, it’s YOUR tax money that they are spending. By supporting Privacy First financially, we are able to file joint lawsuits which represent the privacy interests of all citizens.
If you do not undertake any action we will all be doomed in five years time. It’s as simple as that. You can read about how quickly things develop in the press and on websites like ours.
Make a direct financial contribution, without the need of filling in any forms, on IBAN account number NL95ABNA0495527521 in the name of Stichting Privacy First in Amsterdam, the Netherlands (BIC: ABNANL2A). Alternatively, you can donate below through online banking Paypal or Bitcoins. We kindly thank you for your support!