Dutch referendum against Big Brother secret police law

Dutch anti-spying on citizens poster

This poster is against the new Dutch law on secret services, saying it violates human rights.

Dutch NOS TV reports today that 407,582 people have signed to have a consultative referendum against a new law giving secret services ‘Big Brother’ powers to spy on the Internet activities of all citizens, including the great majority of people not suspected of any crime. The law also wants sharing of the results of that spying with foreign secret services, like the NSA and the CIA in the USA (where Donald Trump wants more spying and more torture by secret police); even data which the Dutch secret services have themselves not analyzed yet. Senior legal advisers of the Dutch government like the Raad van State are critical of the law. So are human rights organisations like Amnesty International.

This is a Dutch 1 October 2017 video, in which comedian Arjen Lubach criticizes the law. Amsterdam University student Marlou Gijzen first got the idea for the referendum.

For a consultative referendum in the Netherlands, 300,000 signatures are needed. If the referendum will go ahead, then Dutch media think it will be on the day of the local elections, 21 March 2018.

There is a good chance that the Dutch electorate will reject this anti-privacy law; if one bases oneself on the two national referenda in the Netherlands so far.

On 1 June 2005, there was a referendum on the proposed European Union constitution. The referendum had been proposed by politicians supporting that European Union constitution, expecting they would win. The VVD right-wing pro-Big Business party campaigned in that referendum with TV propaganda claiming ridiculously that if people would vote No then mass murder in Auschwitz concentration camp would start again. However, 61.5% of voters voted No; especially not so rich voters.

Technically, the Dutch government and the European Union respected the Dutch No vote, and also the French No vote, against the European constitution. However, they replaced it with the Lisbon treaty, with only cosmetic changes. About that treaty, the voters of the Netherlands and all European Union countries except Ireland, were not given the right to vote. So, still disrespect for the voters.

On 6 April 2016, there was again a referendum in the Netherlands. This time on the proposed treaty between the European Union and Ukraine. This time, over 400,000 signatures had been collected by a committee which said they were neither for nor against the treaty. Like in 2005, practically the whole political and Big Business establishment campaigned for a Yes vote for the treaty. But, again, 61,1% of the people voted against.

The Dutch Mark Rutte government disrespected that vote while hypocritically claiming they did respect it.

If voters will vote No to the Big Brother law in March 2018, will politicians respect that then? Looking at how they disrespected the two earlier referendums, one cannot be over-optimistic. However, if people don’t vote or vote Yes to Big Brother, then civil liberties will 100% certainly be damaged.

Now, politicians, including politicians who used to like referendums when they still thought they would win them, have plans to abolish the law making consultative referendums possible.

Will there be a referendum against the plans to abolish referendums?

11 thoughts on “Dutch referendum against Big Brother secret police law

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