Referendum results are in: Majority against data mining law

Ballot for the referendum on the Intelligence and Security Law, 21 March 2018
Ballot for the referendum on the Intelligence and Security Law, 21 March 2018. Photo: Zachary Newmark / NL Times

A majority of Dutch voted against the new law for the Dutch intelligence and security services, the Electoral Council officially announced on Thursday. In total 49.4 percent voted against the law, 46.5 percent voted for it, and 4 percent cast a blank vote, NU.nl reports.

52 percent of Dutch voters voted, far above the 30 percent minimum turnout required for the referendum to be valid. 

According to the Electoral Council, four municipalities submitted remarkable results, where an extraordinary number of votes were submitted against the law. The Council will not recount however, because it will hardly affect the final results.

This new law - officially called the , but also referred to by opponents as the Big Data Law or data mining law - gives the Netherlands' two intelligence and security services more power. The biggest change is that the AIVD and MIVD will be able toThe services will also be allowed to perform hacks more often, and on a larger range - where the services can now only hack a specific suspect, the new law allows them to reach the suspect by hacking the computer of a housemate, for example. The new law also gives the services the capability of storing DNA material for investigations. The expansion of powers is balanced with more supervision on the services.

As a majority of the voters voted against the law, parliament will be forced to re-examine and re-debate the law.  But the parliamentarians can choose to leave the law unchanged, as this is only an advisory referendum and the outcome is not binding. In the  a majority t between the European Union and the Ukraine. The government compromised by adding an amendment to the agreement to . The same could happen here. 

The government has yet to officially respond to the referendum. Last week Prime Minister Mark Rutte did say that the law would be re-examined. 

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