Lack of interest in technology can lead to state surveillance

Lack of interest in technology can lead to state surveillance

“The bill opens the door wide for unlimited surveillance by an unlimited number of parties, public and private.” No, these words are not about China. Nor about Russia. The bill in question comes from our Minister of Justice and Security Grapperhaus. The idea behind this new law, the Data Collection Through Partnerships (WGS) Act, is that government organizations and private parties are given very broad powers to share citizens’ personal data with each other. For example, if fraud or organized crime is suspected. Things no one wants except organized crime and the crooks themselves. So why might WGS not be a good idea?

Quoted words from From the Dutch Data Protection Authority, which was requested by the Senate for a ruling after approval by the Chamber of Deputies in advance. The law is highly critical of the law, having already run two previous versions through the shredder.

This law makes it possible for many authorities to share personal data with each other, without there being an obvious problem. And not only government bodies, but private parties as well. This is where the danger of mass surveillance lies,” says Associated Press president, Aled Wolfson.

Outgoing Minister of Justice and Security (CDA) Ferdinand Graberhaus has proposed a law facilitating the sharing of citizens’ personal data.ANP . image

It is not without reason that the WGS is called Super-SyRI: the law goes further than this already heavily criticized indicator of the risks of the system. The idea is basically the same: get a lot of data from different authorities together and analyze it by smart computers so you can sound the alarm if there are skewed patterns. And the judge ruled in the “Syria Democratic” case last year that this system should be banned because it constitutes a major violation of the privacy of citizens. But there is more. The system turned out to be false alarms. Moreover, it increased inequality: citizens were suspected in advance if they happened to be in the wrong group, eg because they lived in the wrong neighbourhood.

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Ready for it, you might say. But no, in the meantime the Minister was already working on Super-SyRI. The AP is afraid of making the exact same mistakes: citizens who simply end up on the wrong list and are thus under pressure. The regulator also states that the law is very vague. Even on the “first suspicion of illegal activities”, joint ventures can share data with “other parties” if necessary. Who exactly are these “other parties”? The AP has no evidence and neither do we.

If you’re reading this like that, it’s surprising that the entire WGS made it to the House of Representatives at all. or not? In a report on artificial intelligence published this week, the Scientific Council for Government Policy found a glaring lack of interest in government digital affairs. The logic is still very common: technology is something that belongs to the IT department. dangerous assumption. After all, we shape our society through technology. “We shape our tools, and then our tools shape our shape,” is the famous quote rightly attributed to media scholar Marshall McLuhan.

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