Our government listens in on more calls every year than in the whole of the US combined. All our telecommunications providers are forced to have the capability to intercept all traffic (phone and internet). Encrypted data must be stored for an unlimited time to facilitate possible decryption in the future. Our 'Team Digital Expertise' developed software that profiles social networks on which a suspect operates to use it in order to gather crime-related information.
Our police buys TomTom software-data to see when and where they can get the maximum amount of money if they photograph speeding drivers. (Safety is not their first concern, money is). Local and national police now use drones. The army is training how to spy on it's own civilians.
Our 'Camera Surveillance Act' allows images to be retained for up to four weeks and also facilitates the use of cameras for law enforcement purposes, whereas before the main purpose of camera surveillance was keeping public order. They're working on a pay-per-mile car tax system but activating it stopped when it turned out they were collecting more (personal) data than was technically needed to run the system and using the data for purposes other than those for which was collected. Every important road is viewed by camera's with license-plate scanning software. You can travel by public transport but a special card with chip and login/logout is required. You can purchase one without your name and address but you can only add money to it using your bank-account. The system tracks all travelers' movements (departure and end points for each leg of every journey), in most cases combined with the traveler's identity. It retains the data for seven years.
Our Dutch passport contains both fingerprints, facial recognition and RIFD. Every large city center is equipped with camera's with powerful microphones. Our Minister of the Interior announced plans to also store the biometric data in a central database. Dutch hotels are breaking data protection laws by photocopying guests' passports and identification cards because they are required by our government to do so.
The 'Electronic child file' records a child's development and environmental indicators from birth. Teachers are forced to build a profile of every child in their class along with a description of his/her family's situation. It received local media coverage when it turned out doctors are even recording when a child starts getting pubic hair. The government is also actively building a electronic patient file, containing all medical details of every person. Because of the workload they have asked insurance companies to help building this. (That got a lot of people's attention).
Privacy? There is no such thing.
To me, America is still the land of the slightly more free and little more brave!
I read this above report and can't believe it.
When that this happen?
Our data privacy laws are thorough and sometimes an obstacle, but many projects got stopped because of privacy issues:
e.g. the digital stored medical records on ones health insurance card
The stop of the data retention directive by our beloved Bundesverfassungsgericht (they are awesome) is another milestone.
Core of our privacy law is that every person is entitled to reign over it's own data as the person pleases, thus every personal data processing is forbidden as long as there isn't a law allowing it.
But fear not my fellow neighbors, the EU comission (not so beloved) might overhaul the data privacy laws and you might gain citizen rights back:
It was also my perception that the Dutch had a live-and-let-live toleration, that seems like the opposite of the monitoring regime described in the comment. (I'm not really referring to marijuana, I'm speaking more generally.) To this naive outsider, who admittedly has something of a crush on Amsterdam, that level of monitoring is puzzling.
But maybe all those bike roads and dikes point to another aspect of the culture -- a little too well-supervised and well-engineered.
Conspiracy nut thinking? Not so fast my friend:
I think both events are related.
Why would normal citizens vote for the president? There are only two possible outcomes of that: a president gets selected who basically blocks what the rest of the government wants (this is how it works in the US and exactly what the FF wanted) or the people pick a president who would work with the government but would have been picked with your current system.
The problem is that there is no real choice here; you have a right-wing party and a slightly more right-wing party, and then a bunch of powerless minor parties. Nobody is holding the country ransom because there is no real disagreement. Occasionally the parties clash over the budget (as they did recently), but on the whole the country has generally followed the same path for decades now.
Remind me again how the large German cost line suffers regular tsunamis :-)
As your so keen on improving the lot of "labor" you are of course a union member and actively recruit and improve workers living conditions?
I got over 1000 of my members a better deal on their pensions and helped in gaining recognition for a bargaining unit in the UK.
Not nearly as important as avoiding having a bunch of lunatic extremists as two-party systems seem to devolve to.
I find the European governments of many parties all having a say in the government the best and closest to actual representation. I find the idea that the entirety of opinion in the whole US, all 350 million citizens, can be resolved to either Red or Blue absolutely idiotic.
Of course that doesn't happen, the parties both span the whole political spectrum, including complete overlap. I.e. the party name can be meaningless. It also means you can't be sure where a politician stands by his party alone. Contrast this with a european government where you stand with your party or you switch party. It's much easier to work out where someone stands.
>you are of course a union member
I certainly would be in a union but firms have been really good at keeping unionization out of IT entirely. But even better would be a government who recognized the power imbalance between corporations and labor and took steps to make things better on their own.
You do know that other 1st world democracys look at the sclerotic nature of the US system and shake their heads.
One member of the US legislature commented on the BBC that the house of lords was more Democratic than they where in a lot of ways :-)
And don't get me started on the obsession with Barak's race and the fact that the GOP the party of Lincon Seward et al has been taken over by the "swivel eyed nutters"
Now what's this about a beam in my own eye? And now you seem to be bashing how bad the US government is, yet we would be in agreement on this. Color me confused.
Giving the people what a majority of those people want is a very dangerous thing to do. Part of the theory being having constitutions is to limit the tyranny of the majority, though it is plain to see that in Joe Arpaio's case the limitations are not sufficient. What 51% of voters in Maricopa County apparently want is unacceptable.
[insert Churchill quote here]
They do run in partisan elections, but they are limited with regard to claims they can make about opponents, and a non-partisan commission evaluates the overall qualifications of each judge.
Are there issues with politicalization? Absolutely. But don't make the assumption that election == politics, and appointment != politics. An elected judge at least nominally is accountable to the people. The examples where this system doesn't work well is usually when machine politics corrupt the process of electing judges. If the judge was appointed, chances are they would be accountable to nobody at all.
I don't really care that they gather the OVkaart data (they can see that I go to work and back when the weather sucks, so what). What makes me steaming with anger is that they don't seem to be using it to IMPROVE the network. People are actually getting off the metro to get on a bus. Have the bus wait for those people, dammit! What's the use of data collection if it's not used?
Not to discredit your whole post but is this really the case. You can buy those 1 hour/24 hour/48 hour passes for cash. With a 1 hour one you aren't exactly required to check out if you don't use it again (on tram at least).
You could probably also use those desks to reload the OV-Chipkaart with cash, but I've never tried that.
You should be able to, especially the older generation has trouble with modern payment systems and (perhaps rightfully so) mistrust paying stuff by card.
I'm travelling through many countries and really haven't taken into account the local customs when it comes to online activity.
There are VPS' available from resellers like Digital Ocean, are they required to also comply to the above?
Not for long ;)
I moved to Amsterdam from Seattle last November, and have to say that I feel far less vulnerable here, information-wise. Perhaps if I compared the policies and behaviors of only the national governments, I would remember the US as the land of the free, but I prefer to take all levels of government and corporate power into account.
Care to elaborate?
[or you can ask them if they'd be willing to have a streaming camera installed in their bedroom]
I do, because it increases the power of an already too-powerful police force. America is the world leader in throwing people in prison, we really do not need to give the police any more tools.
That's the answer you'd get.
But yeah, until they see negative results, I doubt majority is going to start caring.
You can also put it in terms of hackers: maybe they have nothing to hide from the government, but what about from hackers? People seem to be more concerned about that sort of thing. The same technologies that would thwart the NSA also happen to be good at thwarting other attackers.
If you have nothing to lose, then you only have information to gain by invading others' privacy.
A name defines, your name and your privacy; defines you exclusive of everything and everybody else. Without privacy, arguably you do not exist.
I mean, they collect all those phone records, internet records, they know your movement patterns, and now what? What good can you do with it for your citizen ?
For trading, he who has most data can get most in exchange for it. Sometimes, it's details about on-going deals between companies, where trading information might mean receiving information so one's national companies get a edge over foreign ones. Diplomats, airplane manufacturers, car manufacturers, oil companies are historical beneficiaries of information acquired by the NSA.
But leaders of nations also want information about their citizens. They need to identify other politically important people, influential groups, or where campaign money should (or not) be invested so that they get elected next election. With surveillance data, you can direct police forces to crack down on people or groups who would otherwise have an effect on election day.
Public fear of terrorism is what's being used to take away rights and liberties, especially in post-9/11 America.
I used to live in Amsterdam and I clearly remember that it was possible to top up with cash, has this changed? (only some machines in some stations got this cash option though, maybe all gone now)
Are you saying your country talks on the phone more than the USA? Every one of our phone calls gets recorded. Check out "Mark Klein", he's a whistleblower, formerly of AT&T.
btw did you ever notice that the NRC always uses the diminuitive ("vliegtuigjes", "little planes") when referring to drones? Of course, in this case it somewhat makes sense, because they are in fact tiny planes.
But they use the word not just for these surveillance drones, but also for referring to attack drones firing missiles and laying waste to villages in war zones. I'm not sure what to make of it, whether it's a bias, in general I consider NRC to be a quality paper. It's just such a very odd way to phrase it, and they're being very consistent about it. But imagine writing about abandoned "landmijntjes", or any other type of weapon/killing machine, in the diminuitive.
I forget whereI read it but there is more to it than that but the gist of it is the existence of such a massive amount of data results in amazing discoveries.