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We filed a complaint against the secret services on behalf of millions of citizens

Hoera! We hebben gegevens van miljoenen mensen uit de klauwen van de geheime diensten bevrijd
DOSSIER: Geheime diensten

The secret services are illegally storing the data of millions of citizens. The supervisor does not have the means to do anything about this violation of the law, so we filed a formal complaint. It is high time that the secret services started to abide by the law. Our data should be removed from their servers.

A class action complaint to free your data from the servers of the Dutch secret services

Normally, individual citizens can file a complaint if they feel they have been treated unfairly by the secret services. However, when we speak of the illegal mass retention and use of data, there is a need for a larger-scale action. That’s why we filed a complaint on behalf of all citizens whose data has been affected. This is the personal data of millions of people. It is the first 'class action' complaint with the Complaints Department of the Review Committee on the Intelligence and Security Services (CTIVD). In this way, we want to put a stop to this illegal and highly intrusive practice and liberate the data of all these people from the clutches of secret services.

The problem: The secret services steal the data of millions of citizens

The secret services use bulk powers to collect a huge amount of data on millions of citizens. People who the secret services do not (and will not) investigate. Legally, this is allowed, but only if the services delete all data that is not relevant to them as quickly as possible.This is how the secret services steal your data And that last step is where it goes wrong. They do not do that. The amount of data that the secret services collect about us has increased so much that the secret services can no longer cope. So, they process any type of data regardless of its relevance to the investigation, which results in the mass retention of data. Earlier, the Oversight Department of the CTIVD called this a trick and assessed the illegality of it.

A need for better checks and balances of the secret services

Unfortunately, this is not the case. The CTIVD consists of two departments, neither of which can detect and address abuses. The Supervisory Department decides on its focus and has the power to initiate investigations, but it lacks the binding powers to intervene when things go wrong. The Supervisory Department reports to the Minister who makes the decision whether to react or not. On the other hand, the Complaints Department does have binding powers. This department can, for example, demand that the secret services delete data or stop using a given power. However, it cannot decide for itself what it will investigate in order to subsequently deploy that power. In other words, it can only act if someone files a complaint.

In itself, this system does not work. Despite the fact that the Supervisory Department has declared this practice to be unlawful, it cannot delete the data nor stop this from happening again. The Complaints Department could intervene only if someone files a complaint. And that is exactly what Bits of Freedom has done.

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