Saturday, 23 June 2012 18:29

National Privacy Debate 2012

On June 11, 2012, the long-awaited National Privacy Debate took place in The Hague. Privacy First summarizes the most noteworthy aspects for you, starting with the striking plea (in Dutch) for a Privacy Delta Plan by Brenno de Winter:

"The National Privacy Debate is a unique opportunity to start something beautiful and to challenge people into engaging in open discussion. Let us seize this opportunity and work on a Delta Plan. To make the Netherlands a guiding country again. A model for the rule of law as to the protection of the citizen. That's what we are best at!"

Brenno de Winter.  © Sebastiaan ter Burg

The floor was then given to Anthony House (Google), who at the end of his keynote speech posed the following question to the audience:

“Are the principles of data protection that were developed in the 1970s still good today? Do we need to start from scratch on privacy principles?”

From the silence in the audience and some answers that followed, it could (fortunately) be inferred that the classic privacy principles still suffice today, at least to a large extent.

The event then turned to the first panel discussion, which was focused on the question of what is currently preferred most: more legislation or more self-regulation? The responses from the panel and from the audience showed a predominant preference for both options together instead of just one or the other. As in the financial sector, good laws and strict enforcement have become a bitter necessity for the ICT sector. However, such laws only represent a rapidly aging minimum level of privacy protection. It follows that it is up to the ICT sector itself to operate continuously at the highest, most privacy-friendly (i.e. customer-friendly) level. This is an important selling point which offers significant competitive advantages. In this sense, legislation and self-regulation can complement each other well.

Then there was a speech by Joost Farwerck (KPN) who stated, inter alia, that privacy now has a high priority among a broad Dutch audience: research by KPN had shown that the public attaches most value to this after good healthcare and education. Therefore, KPN has set up an internal Privacy Awareness program and an external Privacy Mission. Farwerck finally pleaded to make the National Privacy Debate a recurring event. (So did Arie van Bellen (ECP-EPN) later that day.) Privacy First is happy to join this plea.

During the second panel session (on privacy and security) some interesting parallels were drawn with security in other sectors such as the food industry and the aviation industry, both in terms of legislation and self-regulation as well as supervision and enforcement. Earlier in the day, Vincent Böhre (Privacy First) had drawn a similar parallel with past developments in the field of environmental protection. Many participants in the debate agreed that, on the one hand, the Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA) lacks adequate resources and powers, while on the other hand its enforcement of existing privacy laws is too weak. In addition, Walter van Holst (Mitopics) rightly noted from the audience that more emphasis should be put on data minimization. Indeed, without any data no security is needed.

The floor was then given to Bart de Koning: journalist and author of the Dutch book 'Alles onder controle, de overheid houdt u in de gaten' ("Everything under control, the government is watching you"). In his speech, De Koning pointed out some positive recent developments, such as the Dutch resistance to passport fingerprinting, the new Dutch law on cookies, net neutrality and political attention to the risks of the U.S. Patriot Act. At the same time he warned about negative developments such as the Dutch proposal to provide all car number plates with RFID chips. Furthermore, the Netherlands is still champion in eavesdropping. In addition, De Koning noted that Dutch media (including Elsevier magazine) are devoting more attention to privacy than before and that citizens are increasingly keeping an eye on their government instead of vice versa. "The citizen peeks back" and this can have "a disciplining effect on the State", De Koning said. As to the future, De Koning suggested the following guidelines to the audience: 1) think before you act, 2) data minimization, 3) transparancy, 4) effectiveness, 5) sunset clauses and 6) an ongoing debate. De Koning further argued for the introduction of Dutch constitutional review (at the judiciary), a Constitutional Court and stronger oversight by the Dutch DPA. In this connection he made a comparison with Germany, where ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) is prohibited.


Bart de Koning.  © Sebastiaan ter Burg

Then there was room for discussion with the audience, at which point Joyce Hes (Foundation for the Protection of Civil Rights) made an especially important remark: many public debates (including the periodic Privacy Cafes in Felix Meritis) are conducted with privacy advocates. Politicians and officials who are critical of privacy rarely show up at these debates. This is not good for the discussion.

Joyce Hes and Frénk van der Linden.  © Sebastiaan ter Burg

Finally, Bart de Koning stated that the ethnic 'underclass' has become the main victim of systematic privacy violations, including preventive home visits. Privacy First endorses all of these points.

The topic of the third panel session was "privacy and government":

© IDG Nederland

© IDG Nederland

On behalf of Privacy First, Bas Filippini kicked off as follows:

"What we focus on are private choices in a free environment. Private choice means the freedom to choose, and a free environment means that we endeavor to keep society as free as possible for the average citizen in the Netherlands. This unless you are suspected of a crime: then privacy can be exchanged for security. That is our philosophy. We argue things from principles first, tested against the Constitution. Then we look at the implementation: are there sufficient checks and balances? How is policy being set and how is it applied? Only finally we look at technology. I always use the following example: "With a knife you can stab someone, but you can also make a sandwich." For many people, technology is the "holy grail" to which everything is connected, without first having taken these three steps: 1) principles , 2) policy, 3) implementation, followed by smart use of technology. Often the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality are breached, which is very unfortunate. In government, there are many people who would like to do things differently, but if they disagree with something, they are quickly seen as whistleblowers, which has a stigmatizing effect. So the Titanic keeps on sailing towards the iceberg, currently resulting in more and more profiling. By that we don't mean targeted profiling in case of a reasonable suspicion of a criminal offence, but surveillance of an entire population to see if there is "anything wrong" somewhere, based on outliers, the deviations from the median. We consider this a great danger, because everyone will become suspect. This creates a lot of self-censorship among people, officials and citizens alike."


Bas Filippini.  © IDG Nederland

Bas Filippini.  © IDG Nederland

During the remainder of the panel debate, the observations by Ronald Leenes (Tilburg University) stood out: Leenes warned about loss of confidence among citizens in their government if that government didn't take the right to privacy seriously. "The consideration whether or not an infringement of privacy is necessary in a democratic society is hardly made by the Dutch government in a number of cases", Leenes said. According to Leenes, data are being collected simply "because it's possible", there is huge confidence in technology, it is thought that more information leads to better decisions, insufficient attention is paid by the government to alternatives to reach the same goals, and there is ignorance. Leenes warned about current plans to register prostitutes in a central database. He also stressed that privacy is not only an individual right, but that it also has a social function.

 Ronald Leenes and Wilmar Hendriks.  © IDG Nederland

Others in the panel pointed to the dangers of risk profiling. Furthermore, the fallacy "if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" was unanimously invalidated: everyone has the right to keep his or her private life simply to themselves. Moreover, a core element of freedom is precisely that you may have something to hide. It was further noted that hard work must be made to increase privacy knowledge and awareness in government. Some in the panel emphasized incompetence in government rather than intent. Bas Filippini replied that there is often an agenda behind things, namely policy from the United States and the European Union. "How do you shape your society? Do you do that on a basis of fear, hatred and control, or on a basis of trust, freedom and love?", Filippini said.

Bas Filippini.  © IDG Nederland

Frénk van der Linden and Bas Filippini.  © IDG Nederland

Bas Filippini, Kees Verhoeven and Sander Duivestein.  © IDG Nederland

Then there was a discussion with the audience, in which Jeroen Terstegge (PrivaSense) rightly stated that one should be wary of Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs) conducted by directly involved officials rather than an independent regulator, such as a Chief Privacy Officer. In this field there should be more self-criticism in government, aside from the Dutch DPA's external role. Another striking remark from the audience was made at the end of the panel session by Dimitri Tokmetzis (Sargasso): insurance was originally intended to spread risk, but through profiling risks are being individualized. This comes at the expense of solidarity in our society.

Thereafter Pim Takkenberg (National Police Services Agency, KLPD) held a speech on the theme of privacy and criminal investigation, in which he specifically discussed the dilemmas around dismantling a so-called botnet: a network of hijacked computer systems. According to Takkenberg, the legal framework in this context is sometimes "insufficiently specific", e.g. in case of 1) remotely "entering" (or hacking) computer systems by the police and 2) international cooperation in fighting cybercrime. Also in public-private partnerships, the police in this context are still "walking on eggshells", Takkenberg noted. In reply to a question from the audience about the effectiveness of data retention, Takkenberg said that "sometimes you have to give things some time in order to see what they yield in the long-term". This strengthens the position of Privacy First that this measure should never have been introduced. Finally, Takkenberg rightly stated that the police does not benefit from too much information gathering and that one must be very selective.


Pim Takkenberg.  © Sebastiaan ter Burg

The panel discussion on privacy and criminal investigation that followed took an unexpected turn due to the comments of Jan Grijpink (Utrecht University, formerly also Ministry of Justice) on the recent complications surrounding the Dutch biometric passport. When asked which aspect of the privacy debate annoyed him, Grijpink answered as follows:

"The discussion about the biometric passport, which I find a good example of how too persistent nagging - if I may say so - on the privacy side impairs the security side. If we have now come to the point of saying "let's remove the fingerprints from the passport", then I am satisfied. Back in 2002, I would have liked to avoid putting fingerprints on the passport, because it is unnecessary to use fingerprints to verify the holder. That has just been superfluous. But the moment you put fingerprints on the passport, you must be able to check whether those fingerprints are still the correct fingerprints and whether the person who says he belongs to them is truly that person. This has led to a decision by various [Dutch] ministers who were responsible for storing four fingers in a municipal database, and if you don't have that, then the citizen is actually lawless when he carries a document with two fingers, because that document is also intended to show to others. If it is just for yourself, then so be it, but a passport is meant to hand over to an authority. When we distribute a passport, we do not even check with the same biometrics whether it's really being distributed to the person who's the official holder. Either no fingerprints, or completely correct. Both these aspects are now threatened to be destroyed through a persistent nagging to one aspect of privacy only. That's what I worry about."


André Elissen, Jan Grijpink and Wilbert Tomesen.  © IDG Nederland

This led Vincent Böhre (Privacy First) to ask Grijpink about his assessment of the risk of function creep in the storage of fingerprints in municipal databases.

Vincent Böhre.  © IDG Nederland

Grijpink answered as follows:

"If you put the fingers on the passport only, you just lose all control for the protection of the individual. I have always made the case for storing four fingers - two on the passport and two extra - with the municipality in order to be able to check whether it is still the right person and whether anything in the document has changed. This can also exonerate yourself if you're accused of something with such a document. Whether that can lead to function creep: yes, everything can lead to function creep. But I think that if you organize it well, and I'm naturally a strong supporter of that, also because of the fact that we build large-scale infrastructures with chain-computerization to manage it well, then I think you also have to put some confidence in the government in a certain sense. I have been part of it for 40 years. In my view, some sort of a ghost is often made of the government in privacy debates. I don't recognize that. Many government officials do their work faithfully."

It is up to the reader to draw his own conclusions from this... ;)

During the panel discussion another central issue concerned the question whether or not to release figures on Dutch telephone and internet wiretaps. On behalf of Bits of Freedom Simone Halink rightly pleaded for more transparency in this respect. From the KLPD corner (and a former AIVD intelligence officer in the audience) however, it quickly became clear that there was complete unwillingness to provide any openness. This then led to a hardening of the discussion in which privacy advocates and (former) representatives of police and justice became diametrically opposed to each other. During this discussion Grijpink made the following remarks:

"I want to bring attention to an aspect as to why you should also be careful with making such hard calls for data and surveys. Especially, very clear in my file, identity fraud, then you make use of someone else's identity. When successful, it is invisible. And if the person is dead, then he won't notice anything. So that's a good example that if you start measuring, you get the wrong answer. And false conclusions and false images may even be worse for criminal investigation than if something gets known. In the case of identity fraud it is quite clear. I was asked: "How bad is the problem?" I replied: "Asking that question means that you don't understand. You must first have a situation in which you are sure to have the person who succeeded in committing identity fraud." There is only one situation that I know: the prison cells of the Justice department. Then minister Donner said: "Let's have a look." And guess what: 15% had the wrong identity. Half of those we didn't even know. And those people are in jail. In other words: figures are only really useful to some extent, and in the public debate they often go wrong."

This led Böhre to emphasize the importance of the notion that privacy is a human right, in which the question of proportionality in both individual and collective sense is fundamental. The discussion should therefore always be based on hard facts and figures. Vague assumptions about look-alike fraud are no excuse to impose biometric passports on an entire population. No negative reaction to this followed from the panel. The importance of further discussions based on facts and figures also seemed to be recognized by the audience. In that sense, the National Privacy Debate hopefully marked the end of an era of fact-free politics.

Privacy First will be happy to actively attend the next National Privacy Debate. In the meantime, the debate between all relevant stakeholders should be permanent.

A full video recording of the whole (6.5 hour) National Privacy Debate can be viewed online HERE.
More pictures of the event can be found HERE and HERE.

Postscript: the above report has also been published in the Dutch journal Privacy & Compliance 3-4/2012, p. 46-49.

Published in Meta-Privacy

This week an excellent article about biometrics by internet journalist Jean-Marc Manach appeared in French web-magazine 'OWNI'. Many current issues and uncertainties around biometrics are discussed in this article, including the Dutch situation: 

"20% d'empreintes inutilisables

Les eurodéputés rappellent également qu'aux Pays-Bas, une étude menée sur plus de 400 passeports a révélé que les empreintes digitales étaient inutilisables dans plus de 20% des cas...

Sophia in 't Veld, de l'Alliance des démocrates et libéraux pour l'Europe (ADLE) révéla par ailleurs qu'au Pays-Bas, les passeports biométriques avaient été justifiés au motif de la lutte contre la fraude et l'usurpation d'identité, mais que le ministère de l'Intérieur avait toujours refusé de rendre public le nombre de cas recensés, au motif que le chiffre serait «inconnu», «pas public», «confidentiel» ou «secret».

Or, des documents obtenus par l'ONG Privacy First révèlent que les autorités n'ont dénombré que 46 cas d'usurpation en 2008, 33 en 2009 et 21 en 2010, sur une population de 17 millions d'habitants..."

Read the entire article HERE, or click HERE for an 'English version' in Google Translate.

"Od početka godine Nizozemska evidentira baš svako vozilo koje ulazi u tu zemlju. Tvrdi kako se time bori protiv švercera, ali njezini susjedi kažu kako je već i to kršenje sporazuma o nesmetanom prometu unutar EU-a.

Ono što je kritičarima osobito sumnjivo jest da se projekt nadzora granica Nizozemske s Njemačkom i Belgijom, nazvan "Amigo boras", isprva trebao provesti daleko od očiju javnosti. Tek kad su novinari počeli ispitivati u vladi u Haagu kakve su to kamere na granicama, objavljeno je kako će se od početka 2012. doista evidentirati registarske oznake svih vozila koja ulaze u zemlju.

Inicijator ovog nadzora jest nizozemsko Ministarstvo za useljeništvo i pitanja azila, na čijem čelu je Gerd Leers. On smatra kako samo takvim, potpunim nadzorom svih vozila i snimkama vozača i suvozača, može konačno stati na kraj švercu i narkotika i osobito ljudi. Tako se osobita pozornost posvećuje kombijima čije registarske oznake potječu sa Balkana i koji su se do sada često pokazali kao prijevozno sredstvo osoba koje nezakonito dolaze u Nizozemsku.

"Ne krši europske odredbe"

Nakon prvih vijesti i prosvjeda zbog takvog potpunog nadzora, nadležne službe tvrde kako su doista, među prometnim znakovima, postavljene kamere na 15 glavnih graničnih prijelaza i kako će se na manjim prijelazima nadzor obavljati iz policijskih vozila, ali kako to ne znači da će se "ometati slobodan protok" građana unutar zemalja potpisnica Šengenskog sporazuma. Drugim riječima, ministar Leers tvrdi kako "to ne predstavlja kršenje europskih propisa".

No građani i političari susjedne Njemačke i Belgije, kao i zaštitnici ljudskih prava u samoj Nizozemskoj, nisu baš uvjereni u to. Nizozemska priznaje da doista, automatskim prepoznavanjem slika s kamera, provjerava baš svaku registarsku oznaku, ali kako će policija doista zaustaviti neko vozilo tek ako računalo onda javi da je možda riječ o osobi koju traži policija - ili ako je auto ukraden. No nije posve jasno, što nizozemska policija čini s tim podacima niti gdje i koliko dugo ih pohranjuje.

Vojna operacija kao "birokratska samovolja"

Bas Filippini iz nizozemske nevladine udruge "Privacy First" smatra ovu mjeru "birokratskom samovoljom" kojom se sumnja na baš svakog građanina koji dolazi u Nizozemsku - i što je još gore, kršenjem načela privatnosti građana koji zapravo jedva da imalo pomaže borbi protiv kriminala. Jer ako kamere doista i snimaju lica vozača i suvozača, malo je izbjeglica koji su kupili svoj auto pa njime stižu u Nizozemsku. Oni su uglavnom nagurani negdje odostraga - što ove kamere uopće ne vide. Filippiniju se sve to čini kao nekakva "vojna operacija" i ne može shvatiti, što je njegovoj vladi bilo da uvodi takve mjere.

I dok se već čuju i sumnje kako Nizozemska ovim projektom slijedi posve drugi cilj - prema broju stranih vozila koja ulaze u zemlju ispitati mogućnost uvođenja cestarina za svoje autoceste, nizozemska vlada se ipak trudi ublažiti dojam kako stvara nekakvu "policijsku državu" i tvrdi kako sustav ionako neće biti uključen neprekidno. Ali nakon prosvjeda i sumnji koje su počele stizati i iz institucija Europske unije, objavila je kako će sustav aktivirati kao "probnu fazu" koja bi trebala potrajati do veljače ili ožujka."

Read the entire article in Deutsche Welle HERE, or click HERE for an 'English version' in Google Translate.

"Hightech-Kameras an der niederländischen Grenze sollen einreisende Autofahrer filmen. Die Regierung in Den Haag sieht darin kein Problem.

Deutschen Holland-Touristen kann es demnächst passieren, dass ihr erstes Urlaubsfoto von der niederländischen Grenzpolizei geschossen wird. Automatisch und mit einer Hightech-Kamera. An den fünfzehn meist frequentierten Grenzübergängen der Niederlande sollen diese zum Einsatz kommen. Fünf davon an der Grenze zu Belgien, zehn an der zu Deutschland, dazu kommen sechs mobile Kameras.

Noch befindet sich das Projekt in der Pilotphase. Nach Auskunft der niederländischen Grenzpolizei soll es im Februar oder März starten. Die Regierung in Den Haag begründet diesen Schritt mit der Kriminalitätsbekämpfung, es ginge um "illegale Einreise in Zusammenhang mit Menschenschmuggel, Menschenhandel, Identitätsbetrug und Geldwäsche".

Das System heißt "@migo-boras" und basiert auf einem System zur Nummernschilderkennung, das sich ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) nennt. Abgelichtet werden die Vorderseite und das Nummernschild der Fahrzeuge. Laut Immigrationsminister Gerd Leers ermögliche dies die Aufzeichnung von "Verkehrsmustern", die "auf Basis allgemeiner Daten und Zielgruppenprofilen melden, welches Fahrzeug für eine Kontrolle interessant sein kann". Die gewonnenen Informationen würden umgehend der Grenzpolizei übermittelt, die dann das entsprechende Auto anhalten kann.

EU-Kommission wartet auf Stellungnahme aus Den Haag

Niederländische Datenschützer sind über das Vorhaben besorgt. Die Stiftung Privacy First spricht von einem "enormem Eingriff in die Privatsphäre". Alle Fahrzeuge zu kontrollieren, um bei einem etwas Verdächtiges zu finden, sei eine "Umkehrung des Rechtssystems". Die Datenschutz-Website befürchtet, die Grenzpolizei habe damit zumindest die Möglichkeit, einreisende Autos gleichzeitig mit "allerlei schwarzen Listen" abzugleichen. Eben dies verneint Immigrationsminister Leers entschieden. Ebenso wenig würden die gewonnenen Informationen gespeichert, immerhin gesteht er ein: "Wohl können die Kameras anhand des Kennzeichens sehen, aus welchem Land ein Auto oder LKW kommt."

So vage diese Argumentation, so spärlich ist die Informationspolitik der Regierung in Sachen Grenzkameras. Fakt ist immerhin, dass zu kurz denkt, wer hier nur die Handschrift der von den Rechtspopulisten abhängigen konservativen Minderheitskoalition zu erkennen glaubt. Seit Jahren schon wird an dem System getüftelt, und bereits 2005 gab es einen ersten Probelauf. Die aktuelle Regierung unter Ministerpräsident Rutte zeichnet sich indes für eine weitere Maßnahme verantwortlich: Sie will Kennzeichen, die von Autobahnkameras im Landesinneren routinemäßig ermittelt wurden, vier Wochen lang speichern. Privacy-Aktivisten befürchten, dass dieser Ansatz auch auf die Bilder der Grenzkameras ausgedehnt wird.

Im Herbst begann sich auch die EU-Kommission für den Fall zu interessieren. Nachdem Deutschland aus Sorge um den freien Verkehr zwischen den Mitgliedsstaaten in Brüssel eine Klage eingereicht hatte, wandte sich EU-Innenkommissarin Cecilia Malmström mit der Bitte um mehr Informationen an die Regierung in Den Haag. Bisher, so Malmströms Sprecher Michele Cercone zu ZEIT ONLINE, warte man auf eine Antwort. Das weitere Vorgehen der Kommission hänge davon ab, wie diese ausfalle. 
Unklar ist bislang, warum die Testphase des Projekts nun verlängert wurde. Noch im Herbst sollte der Startschuss für @migo-boras am 1. Januar erfolgen. Leers' Sprecher Sander van der Eijk machte "operationelle Gründe" für den Aufschub verantwortlich. Mit dem Schreiben der EU-Kommission jedenfalls habe dieser nichts zu tun."

Read the entire article in Zeit Online HERE, or click HERE for an 'English version' in Google Translate.

"Holandija je instalirala kamere na svoje granične prelaze. Te kamere snimaju sva vozila koja u tu državu ulaze iz Belgije i Nemačke. Ovaj postupak je sporan – kritičari u njemu vide čak i kršenje Šengenskog sporazuma.

Kamere o kojima je reč vise na metalnim konstrukcijama pored velikih saobraćajnih znakova. Pored njih, u upotrebi je i šest mobilnih kamera koje se nalaze u vozilima. Sistem ima naziv „Amigo boras" a cilj mu je da – prema zvaničnom tumačenju holandskih vlasti – doprinese suzbijanju šverca ljudi. Zbog toga kamere snimaju prednji deo vozila, dakle, na snimcima se vide registarska tablica, vozač i suvozač. Snimci se porede sa određenim podacima. Tako će na primer, posebna pažnja biti obrađena na furgone sa Balkana: iskustvo je pokazalo da su takvim furgonima u Holandiju prevožene ilegalne prostitutke – samo u takvim slučajevima, policija će smeti i da zaustavi neki automobil radi kontrole.

Mnoge stvari nisu jasne

Mišljenja o novom sistemu kamera su – oprečna. Mnogi stanovnici pograničnog područja kao i putnici koji ulaze u Holandiju zastupaju mišljenje da onaj ko nema šta da krije – nema čega ni da se plaši. Ali, mnogi ovo vide kao još jedan od poteza kojim država zadire u privatnu sferu građana.Posebno važno je pitanje: koliko dugo se čuvaju snimci koje načini „Amigo boras"? Kritičari ukazuju na to da Šengenski sporazum uopšte ne predviđa opšte granične kontrole. Holandska vlada odgovara da će ove kamere raditi samo povremeno, kako bi u konkretnim slučajevima pomogle graničnoj policiji. Holandska organizacija za zaštitu podataka o ličnosti „Privacy first" smatra da „Amigo boras" stvara generalne profile putnika koji dolaze u Holandiju.

„Izgleda kao vojni projekat"

Predsednik pomenute organizacije, Bas Filipini, smatra da novi sistem kamera ne može biti delotvoran: „Oni žele da uđu u trag švercerima ljudi, ali ako u automobilima te osobe sede na zadnjim sedištima, onda ih ionako ne možete videti... Tako ćemo doći do dana kada će snimati sva vozila. Mi želimo da se krećemo bez nadzora" – kaže Filipini, i dodaje da mu čitava akcija izgleda kao neki vojni projekat. Ima i posmatrača koji smatraju da je cilj akcije nešto sasvim drugo, naime, da se ustanovi koliko vozila sa stranim tablicama uopšte ulazi u Holandiju, kako bi moglo da se proceni kakva bi bila korist od uvođenja putarine na tamošnjim auto-putevima.


Povreda ljudskih prava?

Prema članu 23 Šengenskog sporazuma, jedna država-članica sme ponovo da uvede kontrolu samo u izuzetnim slučajevima i na ograničeno vreme i to „u slučaju velike pretnje javnom redu ili unutrašnjoj bezbednosti". Ta mera sme da traje najduže 30 dana ili onoliko dugo koliko traje „velika pretnja". Šengenske države su se, na primer, pozivale na tu klauzulu uoči određenih velikih sportskih priredbi ili političkih samita. Kritičari novog holandskog sistema nadgledanja granica tvrde da je Holandija oko sebe sagradila „virtuelni zid". I Komisija Evropske unije trenutno vrlo ozbiljno razmatra takve primedbe i pitanje radi li se o povredi prava na privatnost ili, još opštije gledano, o povredi ljudskih prava."

Read the entire article in Deutsche Welle HERE, or click HERE for an 'English version' in Google Translate.

"George Orwells Vision von Big Brother wird an niederländischen Grenzübergängen Realität. Dort filmen Kameras den Einreiseverkehr aus Belgien und Deutschland. Das Vorhaben ist umstritten. Kritiker sehen sogar einen Verstoß gegen das Schengen-Abkommen.

Sie hängen unauffällig neben den großformatigen Verkehrsschildern oberhalb der Fahrbahn: Dutzende dieser fest installierten Kameras überwachen nun den Einreiseverkehr in die Niederlande an insgesamt 15 Grenzübergängen. 

Daneben haben die Grenzschützer der Königlichen Marechaussee sechs Fahrzeuge mit mobilen Kameras im Einsatz. Die schon seit 2004 erprobte Überwachungstechnik hat den kuriosen Doppelnamen "@migo-Boras".

Nicht nur diese Bezeichnung sorgt bei deutschen Grenzbewohnern am Niederrhein für Irritationen: "Kenne ich nicht, nein!", sagt einer. Und ein anderer hat immerhin davon in der Zeitung gelesen, aber er finde "@migo-Boras" nicht so toll. Die Überwachung gehe "in die Privatsphäre - das find ich nicht gut".

Menschenschmuggler aus dem Verkehr zu ziehen

Martijn Peelen, Sprecher der Königlichen Marechaussee, teilte nur schriftlich mit, "@migo-Boras" solle vor allem helfen, Menschenschmuggler aus dem Verkehr zu ziehen. Dazu würden die Kameras die Fahrzeuge von vorne erfassen, so dass Nummernschild, Fahrer und Beifahrer abgefilmt werden. Die Aufnahmen würden dann mit bestimmten Daten abgeglichen. So würde das System beispielsweise bei Kleintransportern aus dem Balkanraum Alarm schlagen. Erfahrungsgemäß würden damit auch schon mal illegale Prostituierte ins Land gebracht. Nur in solchen Fällen würden Beamte dann auch ein Fahrzeug stoppen und kontrollieren.

Eine Grenzbewohnerin, die häufig zum Einkauf nach Holland fährt, stören die Kameras daher überhaupt nicht. Wenn man ein reines Gewissen hat, sei das kein Problem, meint sie. Eher skeptisch dagegen ist Jörg Langenmeyer, Bürgermeister der niederrheinischen Grenzstadt Straelen - nahe Venlo. Er finde es "einfach schade", aber man könne noch gespannt sein, ob das Projekt denn wirklich so eingeführt werde. Er meint, die Europäische Kommission wolle noch einige Informationen von der niederländischen Regierung haben, wie die Überwachung in der Praxis überhaupt stattfinden solle.

Verstoß gegen Schengen-Abkommen?

In der Tat sind noch viele Fragen offen: Insbesondere ob und wie lange die Kameraaufnahmen gespeichert werden. Kritiker verweisen auch auf das Schengen-Abkommen, das allgemeine Grenzkontrollen nicht vorsieht. Die niederländische Regierung sagt dazu, die Kameras sollen nicht ständig laufen und nur stundenweise eingeschaltet werden, um die Sichtkontrollen der Grenzschützer zu unterstützen.

Dennoch kommt Protest auch aus den Niederlanden, etwa von der Organisation Privacy First, die sich gegen einen Überwachungsstaat wendet. Der Vorsitzende von Privacy First, Bas Filippini, spricht von einem generellen Profiling, das zunächst jeden Einreisenden erfassen müsse. Außerdem bezweifelt er die Wirksamkeit von "@migo-Boras". Man wolle nur Menschenschmuggler aufspüren, sagt er, aber "da sitzen zwei Leute vorne, hinter ihnen vielleicht die illegalen Personen. Aber die kann man sowieso nicht sehen." Irgendwann, so befürchtet es Filippini, kontrolliere das System dann alle Fahrzeuge. "Es mündet in behördliche Willkür. Wir von Privacy First wollen uns unbeobachtet bewegen. Wir brauchen keinen '@migo'. Freunde suche ich mir selbst." Filippini meint, das Ganze erscheine wie ein militärisches Projekt. Es sei schon merkwürdig, dass die Regierung dies einfach mal so einführe.

Wohl auch deswegen, will die niederländische Regierung erst einmal die Testphase bis Februar oder März verlängern.

Wohl auch deswegen, will die niederländische Regierung erst einmal die Testphase bis Februar oder März verlängern. (...)"

Read the entire article at ARD HERE, or click HERE for an 'English version' in Google Translate.

"Ein Foto von jedem Auto, das über die Grenze fährt: Ab Januar 2012 möchten die Niederlande entsprechende Überwachungs-Technik installieren. Eine Software pickt dann Autos für weiterführende Kontrollen heraus.

Datenschützer in den Niederlanden machen sich Sorgen. "Bald ist unser Grenzschutz technisch im Stande, jedes einzelne Auto zu scannen - auch Deutsche", sagt Vincent Böhre von der Stiftung Privacy First in Amsterdam. Alle 15 großen Grenzübergänge nach Deutschland und Belgien sollen Kameras bekommen, sechs mobile Einheiten auf Geländewagen observieren zusätzlich die kleineren Übergänge. (...) "Dies ist ein Instrument gegen schwere Kriminalität wie Menschenhandel. Es eignet sich überhaupt nicht, um ausstehende Geldbußen zu kassieren", betont Frank Wassenaar, Sprecher des zuständigen Ministeriums für Inneres und Immigration. Datenschützer sind dennoch skeptisch. Denn wer garantiert, dass nicht später doch die Kennzeichen gelesen werden? Dann könnte auch das Knöllchen vom vergangenen Holland-Urlaub noch kassiert werden. Auch herrschen Zweifel, ob auf den Fotos Menschen wirklich nicht erkannt werden können. Das System ist seit 2004 in Polizeikreisen im Gespräch, am belgischen Grenzübergang Hazeldonk machten die Niederländer ab 2005 verschiedene Tests. Dennoch rücken die Behörden nur zögerlich mit Detailinformationen über dieses neue System heraus, bemängelt Datenschützer Böhre. Knapp sechs Wochen vor der Einführung ist noch nicht genau bekannt, welche Daten wie genutzt werden. Klar ist: Die Autos werden von vorne und von der Seite fotografiert. Das Instrument mit dem nebulösen Namen @MIGO-BORAS wurde speziell für die Grenzüberwachung entwickelt. "Das sind doch verkappte Grenzkontrollen, damit unterlaufen die Niederlande die Abmachungen von Schengen", sagt Datenschützer Böhre. Auch die EU-Kommission untersuche die niederländischen Pläne inzwischen."

Read the entire article at WDR HERE, or click HERE for an 'English version' in Google Translate.

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