Municipalities spy on citizens through social media

Municipalities spy on citizens through social media

The claim here does not come from whistleblowers, but from research by NHL Stenden and the University of Groningen. They were commissioned by the Bureau of Police and Science Research to find out if municipalities in the Netherlands don’t go far in spying on citizens. This turned out to be the case at least once in six times.


The results are based on questionnaires distributed to half of all Dutch municipalities. She asked whether they had ever used fake accounts to infiltrate certain private groups via social media. Usually, this method can only be used by the police and the intelligence service, and then under very strict conditions. Municipal officials are never allowed to use fake accounts, but they are still very happy to spy on private affairs of Dutch citizens. According to the researchers, many civil servants simply don’t know anything better. Often they are completely unaware of all the rules, causing them to violate the law more than once.

Snowdens asked de Volkskrant who published the research from the Dutch Municipal Association (VNG) for clarification, as they sometimes wanted to know why citizens’ privacy was so loosely treated, when this is totally against the rules. However, they (yet) have not received an answer.

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