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Privacy First chairman's speech at 'Advocate of the Truth' book launch

Thursday, 19 July 2012

On March 5, 2012, Adriaan Bos presented his exciting debut novel Advocaat van de waarheid ('Advocate of the Truth') at Van Doorne Lawyers in Amsterdam. More about the book can be found HERE (in Dutch). Below are the translated text and a Dutch video of the speech that Privacy First chairman Bas Filippini held for this occasion:

"We are a foundation, we proceed from donors and with that money we deliver action. That's actually a new form of action: business action - I come from the industry - and if necessary we can also take legal action. Mainly against the Dutch government: the government which should be protecting our privacy, but which at this moment is in fact the biggest violator of privacy that you can imagine.

There is something very "close" about privacy, namely one's own private environment. The thing with privacy is, it is actually quite simple, as the Egyptians used to say: there is a balance, an ostrich feather, and your soul, and you can find out for yourself what has weighed most heavily in your life. We always see the pictures of the hieroglyphics, but that's what these people were actually doing. Which life do you live and how do you shape that life? Just as the government has a mantra of "nothing to fear, nothing to hide", we have our own mantra: "I have nothing to hide, so I do not have to be checked and I am certainly not to be watched. I prefer to possess my own personal data in this society." For me, this line in the sand had already been drawn in the year 2000. Then at one point I took the initiative and said: let's take action. With a foundation. Maybe you've heard about us from the Passport Act. The big Moloch, the government goes on and on, often out of ignorance, sometimes unwillingness, sometimes consciously, funded by IT companies, so is my perception. Then there comes a point that if one doesn't want to listen, one must feel. So we deployed a lawyer. And through these first small steps, we have already achieved some big results.

From the book by Adriaan Bos I recognized many things to myself: personal development and making choices in life. In his book, Adriaan immediately puts the cat among the pigeons by choosing the worst scenario: government-obliged chipping of people. That is of course the horror scenario where I dig my Privacy First heels in the sand. The storyline immediately appealed to me and I found it very recognizable. It reminds me of the ability to make personal choices: make it personal, get that balance and make your choice. On the other hand, I recognized it as a Da Vinci Code-type book, a thriller, businesslike, including the legal profession. I experience that a lot: you need a lawyer for a contract or an acquisition; that's when you need each other. That business approach really appealed to me. This is also a beautiful way of introducing this topic to the masses. But also the frightening prospect of the end to your personal freedom. In my perception we're talking about principles here which took 3,000 years to develop and to discuss, where people have been killed, given their lives and waged wars. What are the real truths in everyone's own story? For me, those are freedom, a sense of freedom, and trust, a society based on trust. Speech by Bas FilippiniAnother key is different for each person: a child comes to this world in freedom, curiosity and confidence. I think a child is always a good mirror for how society should be. A society based on opposite principles, mistrust, hatred and control, to that everyone will say in advance: this is not a society we want to live in. But look around you and see what is happening: we are building a society based on distrust, hate - "you are either with us or against us" - and control. This is what we call 'profiling'. From unwillingness and stupidity you see a lot of profiling taking place in this society. The highway is under total surveillance. Everywhere you drive into Amsterdam you will be photographed. This started with environmental legislation and then we quickly saw the poles shift until it suddenly became a measure for every Amsterdam resident. Even the parking meters have cameras. For what purpose? To buy a ticket? I don't understand this, and yet you see some kind of general acceptance about it. Looking at Adriaan's book, I can say that you must experience it yourself and read it in order to have to your own opinion about it. Luckily, we are free to do this. The book is about the fact that, in times of crisis, legislation can quickly shift in the direction of a quick "fix". As we all know, choices out of fear are often not the best choices. Short-term pleasure is long-term pain, and short-term pain is long-term pleasure. Sometimes it is better not to overreact because of something hysterical in the newspapers, as we often experience in this media democracy.

I would like to finish by stating my intention of not leaving my daughter behind in an electronic concentration camp. This is what I see we are heading toward. This may not be the nicest of messages, but that is not what I am here for; I like to challenge and to stimulate. I hope that Adriaan Bos will make a very good contribution to this. You should really make a movie out of this book. The Privacy First Foundation hereby donates 5,000 Euros for the first building block: the translation of the book into English so that it can get a much bigger audience. It really is a whole new genre in the field of thrillers, ethics, spirituality and personal development."

Overhandiging van het boek door Adriaan Bos aan Bas Filippini

Video (in Dutch):

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