Data privacy watchdog increasingly blocked in court

Organizations are increasingly turning to the court to try and block Dutch Data Protection Authority's publications. According to the privacy watchdog, they fear that their reputations will be damaged if it is revealed that a CBP investigation found that they have misstepped. 

CBP president Jacob Kohnstamm is therefore advocating that an obligation to publish investigations be put in the law for the watchdog. "At this moment alone there are four cases in court. It creates a lot of pressure on our legal department. An obligation to publish would be a helping hand." he said to Trouw. He also thinks that the transparency would help citizens be more aware of how much date is being collected about them.

According to Kohnstamm, invisibility is still a big problem. "Businesses and governments increasingly do profiling. This profile is created based on data collected and determines how we are handled or approached. But we are not always aware of it. If I steal a purse, you will see it. If I steal data, it is not so visible."

Kohnstamm handed the CBP's annual report to the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament on Tuesday. This past year the CBP found that advertisement agency YD - now Yieldr - collects personal information from online users using cookies to display targeted ads, without asking the computer user's permission. The CBP gave Google a penalty that can increase up to 15 million euros for linking user's data of different services, such as searches, location data and mails. According to the watchdog, Google did not adequately inform users about this.  The CBP also found that employment agencies Randstad and Adecco store the data of temporary workers for too long.

The CBP will organize an international privacy conference later this year with the goal to devise pragmatic solutions for the differences in the approaches to privacy in the United States and Europe.