Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Dutch: Security Above Privacy

The tension between security and (constitutional) rights has increased since the latest turmoil in The Netherlands. As might be concluded from a recent opinion poll the Dutch are leaning to security at the cost of privacy rights at the moment (Source-Dutch only). Some numbers:
Of the Dutch:
-65% do not fear that investigative methods of the AIVD (the Dutch CIA/FBI mix) will intrude with their privacy too much
-49% thinks that the AIVD does not have enough powers to fulfill its tasks
-35% thinks that the tracking and investigation of suspicious search engine entries is always acceptable (29% for websites)
-Less leniency towards monitoring private homes and mail: 47% finds this only acceptable when there's a concrete threat
-32% finds it always acceptable for the AIVD to search a private home with the knowledge of its inhabitants
-Generally men are more likely to accept search methods than women
I'm feeling a bit more feminine today. As after the U.S. elections, in which the majority of women voted for..., well, let's not go there. It doesn't surprise me that people have less problems with investigation of internet related activities than mail/telephone searches. Lack of personal experience, knowledge and, hey, that "new" medium is a grey, fluid place of smutty dangers-mantra still have their effect. Surprising is that one-third of the people find it always acceptable for investigators to ring your doorbell and take a good look in your house and whatever's in there. The poll underlines the difference between what's legally allowed and would be popularly accepted in the name of security. To fear is that this divide is closed from would be to will be and we may be searched with diminished (constitutional) restraints.


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