Make greater use of security cameras during investigations

It must become possible to use images from security cameras of private individuals and companies more efficiently, in order to catch, for example, shoplifters, burglars or robbers. This is the essence of a bill by State Secretary Teeven of Security and Justice which the Council of Ministers has agreed to. The faster the police and judicial authorities can gain access to such images, the greater the chance of criminals being apprehended.

Currently, a lengthy and time-consuming procedure still has to be completed before such images can be shown. The Dutch government believes that, subject to certain conditions, citizens and businesses should themselves be allowed to post images from security cameras on the Internet. However, the arbitrary distribution of visual material can wrongly link people to crimes, or can be contrary to the interest of the investigation. That is why the offence first has to be reported. After that, the police and judicial authorities will be able to assess and use the images. Only after permission has been granted by the judicial authorities will private individuals and businesses be allowed to distribute their camera images. In this way the Dutch government wants to maintain the balance between interests involving the issue of privacy and the interests involved in investigation and prosecution.
 
Public transport companies, local authorities or institutions accessible to the general public, such as public libraries, can also make use of the measure. In addition to the Internet, they often have other possibilities for publishing information, such as electronic billboards.
 
The Dutch government also believes there are opportunities for making better use of images from private security companies. Examples are the large screens in shopping centres used to promote products and services. These are suitable for showing suspects of burglaries, thefts and robberies to the visiting public, along with the request to report any suspect they recognise. In these cases too, the control is in the hands of the police and judicial authorities.
 
The proposal also contains a duty to report any data leaks. Parties that tender information services will soon be obliged to report the theft, loss or improper use of personal data, as was announced in the coalition agreement. These parties will therefore now include information service providers, rather than just the providers of electronic communication networks and services, that are subject to a duty to report on the grounds of the Telecommunications Act [Telecommunicatiewet] in order to provide better protection for the personal data of a subscriber or user.
 
A security error can result in large quantities of personal data ending up on the street. Such errors are reported to the Dutch Data Protection Authority [College Bescherming Persoonsgegevens] (Cbp). In the event of negligence, the Cbp can impose a fine of up to 450,000 euros.
 
The Council of Ministers has agreed to send the Bill for advice to the Council of State. The text of the Bill and of the advice by the Council of State will be made public when they are submitted to the House of Representatives.