What should be done now?
To begin with, our data must be freed from the clutches of the secret services. This means that all data illegally held by the services must be destroyed immediately.
In addition, there must be ensured that this does not happen again. And for that, the supervisor has to be listened to. All data must be assessed for relevance, as required by law. That means, all data by itself, and not on the level of (bulk) datasets.
Finally, the fact that this illegal practice can last for so long shows two things:
- The handling of bulk data by the secret services must be regulated better, with consistent safeguards that cannot be circumvented.
- And for effective oversight, the oversight committee needs both the possibility to initiate investigations itself ánd have binding powers, so that it can intervene when the practice of the services goes off the rails. And its recommendations in addressing wrongdoings cannot be ignored again.
Fortunately, a new amendment proposal to the Intelligence and Security Services Act 2017 is on its way. So these two points can be taken into account immediately.