Strong increase in privacy complaints in The Netherlands

The number of privacy complaints submitted to the Authority for Personal Data (AP) continues to rise sharply. According to the AP, more than 15,000 people filed a complaint in the first half of 2019, compared to approximately 9,000 in the second half of 2018.

The Authority for Personal Data explains the increase because the filing of privacy complaints in the Netherlands is still relatively new, but it is becoming more and more well-known. Furthermore, more people are concerned about their privacy. More people complain about violations regarding not complying with requests for inspection or the removal of their personal data.

The AP has a limited number of employees and the number of complaints received is greater than the number they are currently able to handle. The AP is therefore looking for a structural solution and has been in contact with the Ministry of Justice and Security (JenV) to find one.

According to the AP, most complaints (32%) concern a violation of a privacy right (the right to inspect or the right to remove). For example, people sometimes have no or no full access to their data, or the thresholds for having their personal data removed are too high. About 13% of the complaints concern organisations that pass on personal data to third parties while the data subjects do not know this. The data subjects only find out after they have been approached by companies unknown to them for direct marketing purposes.

The sectors about which the Authority receives the most complaints are business service providers (46%), government (14%) and the IT sector (13%). With business service providers, complaints are mainly about privacy rights and direct marketing. The government often deals with the lawfulness of data processing.

Source: Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens

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