Interior Min. says Dutch gov't websites definitely secure, confusing experts

Ronald Plasterk (Photo: Commons)Ronald Plasterk (Photo: Commons)

Minister Ronald Plasterk of Home Affairs is satisfied with security on the Dutch government's websites, he said in response to parliamentary questions. This is despite a recent study by the Open State Foundation that found that over half of the government sites don't use secure connections.

The Open State Foundation - a non-profit organization aimed at "increasing transparency in politics" - looked at a total of 1,816 government websites. They found that over half of them don't make use of the standard https secure connection. This https connection ensures that third parties can't see what websites you visit and what information you send.

PvdA parliamentarians Astrid Oosenbrug and John Kerstens demanded an explanation from Plasterk.

In response Plasterk said that the Open State Foundation investigation missed the necessary nuance, because many government websites only provide information and do not ask for personal details. As an example he cites teh UWV website, which is one of the sites without a secure connection. According to Plasterk, this site uses a secure https connection fi there is an exchange of personal data, but not when only providing information. That was not noted in the study, he writes. Many government websites also direct visitors to DigiD, which does have a secure https connection.

"First and foremost the security of government websites is of course important, but based on the cited research, I can not conclude that the government websites generally do not suffice.", Plasterk wrote in response to questions from CDA parliamentarian Mustafa Amhaouch about the same study. 


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