On March 3, Bit of Freedom, Amnesty International, VAG and the Open State Foundation are organizing a national electoral debate on digitization. In an increasingly digital government and society, data and digital processes play an important role. However, current indicators such as the benefits issue, data breach in GGD and big, powerful technology show that policy is still lagging behind.
Queenie Rajkowski (VVD), Harry Van Der Molen (CDA), Lisa Van Jenken (D66), Andrew Hargins (Green left), Barbara Kathman (PVDA) and Maher Kaya (SP) discuss the digital issues on the agenda.
Issues related to digitization play an important role in the political debate and cannot be missed in the lead up to the parliamentary elections in 2021. The Provisional Committee’s Report on the Digital Future previously referred to “digital transformation”: There must be more parliamentary grip on digital issues.
The first axis: the benefits of algorithms and their supervision
The benefits case revealed that machine learning algorithms can have far-reaching impacts. According to the Netherlands Data Protection Authority, the Allowances Department at the Tax and Customs Administration should not process the (dual) citizenship of childcare allowance applicants as it has for years. These processes were illegal, discriminatory, and thus inappropriate – serious violations of the Privacy Act, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The second axis: major technology companies and social media
The storming of the US Capitol Building on January 6 sparked a debate about social media regulation. Social media is said to be using opaque algorithms to serve people with more fake news and conspiracy theories, which results in people distrusting the media, governments, science, and other institutions. How do we ensure that the influence of social media comes under democratic control? Could legislation like the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act better regulate social media oversight?
The third axis: collective surveillance
In recent years, the powers of the Netherlands’ police, intelligence and security services in this area have also been expanded. Computer Crime Act 3 (Hacking Act) allows police to hack phones or other devices to find information, and IPH (Intelligence and Security Services Act 2017) gives intelligence services more powers to collect information. At that time, there was a well-known referendum on this topic, in which the law was rejected and parts of it were amended. At the same time, there is also an increase in the amount of sensors in public places, such as cameras, microphones, license plate cameras, and even heart rate sensors.
The election debate can be followed live for everyone via the live webcast at digitizationdebat.nl and the NPO Politiek TV channel. Watch and Listen on Wednesday, March 3 between 4:00 PM and 5:30 PM. This discussion is made possible in part by Engage! TV.