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The Netherlands is a democratic constitutional State. This implies that every government action is to be 1) democratically legitimized and 2) subject to the rule of law. Therefore the law decides what the government has to adhere by. Whereas the prohibition on vigilante justice applies to every citizen, it also applies to the government itself. In that sense the government fulfils an important exemplary role. But what if the government ignores a judicial verdict? In that case citizens in a constitutional State are fortunately able to go to court again to call the government to order. This is what happened last year in a lawsuit against the Dutch Healthcare Authority (Nederlandse Zorgautoriteit, NZa) about medical privacy and professional confidentiality within the Mental…
Today Privacy First sent the following email to the Electronic Health Record spokespersons in the Dutch House of Representatives:  Dear Members of Parliament, On Tuesday 13 December 2012 an important General Meeting with Minister Edith Schippers about the Electronic Health Record (Elektronisch Patiëntendossier, EPD) will take place. The Privacy First Foundation is keen to provide you with the following points of interest in order for you to prepare for and make possible contributions to the debate: 1) As far as Privacy First is aware, at the moment one is working towards an opportunistic spurious solution along private lines, namely a regional exchange of data through the National Switch Point (Landelijk Schakelpunt, LSP). By definition this leads to function creep by design. The digital…
Unfortunately it has been on the cards for weeks. Now it seems it will happen after all: a private restart of the Dutch national Electronic Health Record (Elektronisch Patiëntendossier, EPD). Albeit under the name ‘personal health record’ (privacy by semantics), which at first will above all be used ‘regionally’ and only with the permission of each individual patient. However, the underlying infrastructure (National Switch Point, in Dutch: Landelijk Schakelpunt, LSP) is still national in orientation and was voted down unanimously by the Dutch Senate earlier this year due to privacy objections. So by now the private EPD looks suspiciously like a nuclear transport with the LSP as its radioactive cargo. In anticipation of this development, Privacy First has recently (shortly before…
This afternoon Privacy First sent the following letter to the Electronic Health Record spokespersons in the Dutch House of Representatives: ‘‘Dear Members of Parliament, Recently the Senate, quite rightly, unanimously rejected the legislative proposal to introduce a national Electronic Health Record (Elektronisch Patiëntendossier, EPD), especially in light of the enormous privacy risks this EPD would entail. It is therefore with great concern that Privacy First has taken note of developments that indicate a possible restart of that very same EPD along a private, extra-parliamentary route. Such a restart is not only disdainful with regard to our democratic process, it is also a denial of the risks and worries on the basis of which a legal introduction of a national EPD recently did not go ahead.…
This afternoon a long-awaited irrevocable decision has been made: the introduction of the national Electronic Health Record (Elektronisch Patiënten Dossier, EPD) was unanimously rejected by the Dutch Senate. After 14 years and spending 300 million euros, the national EPD has ended up where it should have been years earlier: at the Scrapyard of Draconian Laws. Two years ago the Dutch House of Representatives accepted by a large majority the same plan for the national exchange of very sensitive patient’s data: almost all of the large Dutch political parties, namely PvdA, GroenLinks, D66, VVD, ChristenUnie, SGP and CDA voted in favour. This afternoon all these parties made a historic U-turn. Even the Christian-democratic CDA now seems to be cured. Progressive insight? Who…
It is a well established principle of justice that a company selling a consumer product ought to take proper care for the health of the user of that product, even on a basis of "could have known". Cell phone companies certainly have not shown much care for the health of their buyers. Just like tobacco companies have funded pseudo-scientific research that proved that smoking was not related to any health hazards, likewise the phone companies have produced reports that radiation from cell phones was not harmful. They were referring to the same kind of radiation that is 'cooking' your ear when you make a call of, say, five minutes. Because one cannot feel what is happening to your brain (no pain…

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