Possible government privacy breach when people apply for benefits
People who apply for benefits are very often being screened by the Inlichtingenbureau, a governmental organization that helps transfer personal data between the national and local government bodies. The information office collects large amounts of different data on behalf of the government, prompting experts to raise the question of citizen’s privacy potentially being breached, de Volkskrant reported.
Venlo lawyer Stijn Engeled regularly works with people claiming different social benefits from the government. He expressed his concern over the often overlooked government body, saying that people eligible for this kind of support often completely turn over their privacy to the government. "They really know everything about you", he argued.
Civil Rights Protection Platform chair Tijmen Wisman also said that all the people who receive benefits from the government can hardly maintain their privacy. "By accepting support, you actually surrender yourself completely to the government", he argued.
The Inlichtingenbureau was set up in 2001 and has since then carried out its work in a way that is commonly described as unnoticed at best, or secretive at worst. It collects information about citizens who receive social assistance benefits from government agencies, municipalities or other sources, but most of those citizens are completely unaware of the organization.
The bureau’s main objective is to investigate irregularities that could possibly occur around people claiming social benefits. In cases of suspected irregularities, the bureau is meant to alarm the municipality.