‘The Netherlands must protect its citizens from Big Brother America’

8 June 2013

‘The Netherlands must protect its citizens from Big Brother America’

‘American spies who keep people under surveillance against the wishes of our government; American firms which, in conflict with our laws, hand over data on Dutch citizens; an American secret service which keeps an eye on Dutch citizens’ use of the Internet. It appears as if the government of the Netherlands has completely handed over responsibility for the privacy of Dutch citizens. In doing this our governments falls well short in the fulfilment of its fundamental tasks.’ So said SP Member of Parliament Ronald van Raak in reaction to the news that the United States National Security Agency, the NSA, has for several years collected data on Dutch citizens who use Google, Facebook, Youtube, Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, Paltalk, AOL or Skype.

Ronald van RaakInternal Affairs Minister Ronald Plasterk says that he will be asking for an explanation from the US government of this latest espionage scandal, but for Van Raak this is nowhere near sufficient. ‘The government has known for years that the Americans are active in our country and that they spy on our citizens,’ he says. ‘Governments have never had the nerve to speak out against this. American spies have been expelled on the quiet, principally in order not to provoke any discussion. The Netherlands is not prepared to confront the US over the far-reaching consequences of the “Patriot Act”, which gives them a free hand to spy on the citizens of other countries. And after the uncovering of this new spying scandal, Plasterk is not prepared to state clearly that this behaviour by the US is unacceptable. The United States and European countries have to cooperate closely in our common struggle against international terrorism, but you don’t do that by staying silent about abuses by the Americans. Cooperation means also that you protect the interests of citizens and set limits to interference by others.’

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