Minister under fire in debate on health service data leak
Minister Hugo de Jonge of Public Health faced criticism from opposition parties and coalition party D66 in a parliamentary debate on a massive data leak from health service GGD's coronavirus test and contact tracing systems. MPs feel the Minister did too little to make sure the databases, containing information on millions of Dutch, were properly secured, NOS reports.
Last week, multiple GGD call center employees were arrested for offering lists with data of people who had been tested for Covid-19 for sale on Telegram. NOS reported that employees were able to download and share such lists since April last year. RTL Nieuws reported that GGD employees raised privacy concerns with the organization for months, but the GGD management ignored these concerns. The GGD removed the export function from the database.
D66 parliamentarian Kees Verhoeven does not understand how warning signs did not reach the Minister months ago. "Why was serious action delayed for so long when the problems had been known for some time?" he wanted to know. "Why did the Minister let this happen?"
Opposition party SP understand that the GGDs had to set up the systems in a rush due to the unprecedented circumstances the pandemic brought with it, but De Jonge must admit that he dropped the ball and not "hide away" his mistakes, MP Maarten Hijink said. "The Minister told a lot of nonsense with a lot of bravado" when he first claimed that the leak was screenshots and not that serious, the parliamentarian said.
DENK believes De Jonge was caught sleeping on the job. "Privacy and Minister De Jonge are like water and fire," party leader Farid Azarkan said. According to him, De Jonge cannot deal with criticism, reacts much too late to mistakes, and tries to cover up by selling nonsense. "When will another body come out of Hugo's closet? The Netherlands deserves a better Minister."