Praise Ruling Against Government-Sanctioned Data Gathering


Target: Judge G.P. van Ham, The District Court of The Hague

Goal: Applaud judge for overturning requirement that telecommunications companies must collect and store customers’ data.

Dutch telecommunications companies will no longer be required by the government to gather and store the personal data of their customers, thanks to a recent court ruling that struck down a 2009 data-retention law. Under the law, information about cellular and home telephone usage of every customer was to be stored for one year, and information about internet customers stored for six months. This included data about every phone call, text message, or email sent to or from a Dutch citizen.

In 2014, a European court ruled that governmental data-retention policies infringe on the right to privacy and protection of personal information. This allowed a coalition of Dutch journalists, human rights groups, and telecommunications firms to challenge the Dutch law in court. The court agreed that the data retention policy was an infringement on personal rights, and went far beyond what is necessary in terms of national security. Rather than amend the law as the government proposed, it was struck down entirely, with the judge citing the paramount importance of privacy in a free and democratic society.

While the safety of all citizens is a high priority, it is important to ensure that liberty and privacy are not sacrificed in the interest of security capabilities. When we begin to sacrifice our personal rights, we forsake the most basic ideals of our society. Sign the petition below to thank the court for upholding the rights of citizens of the Netherlands by striking down an invasive data retention law.


Dear Judge G.P. van Ham,

A 2009 law mandating that telecommunications companies gather and retain user data has been struck down by a court. The law forced internet and telephone service providers to record details about phone calls, text messages, and emails headed both into and out of the country. Since the law was so broad, every customer in the country was targeted.

The court ruled that, in accordance with a European court declaration that mass data gathering and retention is unconstitutional, the law should be overturned. According to a statement, the law violated citizens’ right to a private life and the right to the protection of personal details to a point that was not necessary in terms of national security. We, the undersigned, praise the ruling, which will protect Dutch citizens from unfair and invasive government surveillance.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Jonathunder via Wikimedia Commons

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