Robust data-transfer safeguards for privacy and security

Robust data-transfer safeguards for privacy and security

Netherlands - Amsterdam Aesthetics originally published at Netherlands - Amsterdam Aesthetics

Robust data-transfer safeguards for privacy and security

A clear legal basis and robust safeguards for data transfer within partnerships are necessary in order to protect our personal data, our safety and security and the rule of law. This will provide all parties with a clearer picture of the conditions under which data may be processed within the four existing partnerships that work to address complex issues such as problems on the boundary of healthcare and security relating to confused persons and situations involving organised crime, money laundering and criminal assets.

Today, to that end, Minister Yeşilgöz-Zegerius put forth for online consultation a general order in council that is intended as a supplement to the Data Processing Partnerships Bill (WGS), which is currently pending in the Senate.

‘The only way to eliminate the perceived conflict of interest between security and privacy is to enact robust safeguards and purposefully define the situations in which data sharing is allowed. As it currently stands, ambiguity about sharing information often results in an impasse. An example of this can be seen where the healthcare and security sectors intersect, despite the fact that complex problems involving confused persons call for an urgent response. This also applies to efforts to combat organised crime and criminal assets. We must ensure clarity regarding situations in which it is permissible to share information,’

according to Minister Yeşilgöz.

The general order in council that has now been submitted for online consultation further clarifies the legal grounds for transferring data and includes additional safeguards for the protection of personal data. It also constitutes a response to questions from Parliament and the recommendations from the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights and the Dutch Data Protection Authority, as well as the information provided by the Advisory Division of the Council of State at the Senate’s behest.


The order in council, known as the Data Processing Partnerships Decree, provides for additional safeguards in connection with sharing information. It aims to define, as precisely as possible, what such partnerships are permitted to do. The draft of the Decree sets out safeguards such as the criteria that a signal, request or individual case must meet in order to justify data processing. Other safeguards include the appointment of a legitimacy advisory committee to evaluate legality and combat risks of discrimination; a requirement calling for independent privacy audits; quality assessments of data; and the establishment of a point of contact via which citizens can exercise their rights on the grounds of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Many additional safeguards are in effect as well, such as an obligation to ensure appropriate education and training with regard to data processing.

Four partnerships

The Data Processing Partnerships Bill (Wetsvoorstel gegevensverwerking door samenwerkingsverbanden, WGS) will soon make it possible for the participants of four existing partnerships to more effectively exchange data in order to gain a complete picture of their security areas:

  • the Care and Safety Houses (ZVHs), in situations involving domestic violence and complex problems with severely confused behaviour;
  • the Regional Information and Expertise Centres (RIECs) in the fight against organised and subversive crime;
  • the Financial Expertise Centre (FEC), which focuses on the integrity of the financial sector and specifically on combating illegal financial activities, terrorist financing and money laundering.
  • the Criminal and Unaccountable Assets Infobox (iCOV) drafts reports that can be used to trace the location of hidden and potentially criminal or tax-evaded assets.

Should the desire to add new partnerships emerge, this will need to be arranged by legislative amendment. Only under urgent circumstances and following a recommendation by the Council of State (RvS) will it be possible to adopt a transitional arrangement while such a legislative amendment is in progress.

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Netherlands - Amsterdam Aesthetics originally published at Netherlands - Amsterdam Aesthetics