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The Netherlands one of the leaders in privacy protection

The Netherlands generally performs above average in the protection of personal data, according to research carried out at Leiden University. Germany is the leading country, while countries such as Italy and Romania are lagging behind.

Legal researchers at the Institute of eLaw at Leiden University compared aspects of privacy, such as government policy, legislation and monitoring and enforcement, in eight European countries. 

The Netherlands leads with reporting requirements on data leaks

In the Netherlands, citizens have a high level of awareness and self-reliance with regard to their privacy. This issue also features sprongly in the political debate, making the Netherlands one of the front-runners in terms of reporting requirements on data leaks, Privacy Impact Assessments (an instrument for determining privacy risks of data processing in advance), the societal debate and information campaigns. The budgets, staffing levels and powers of the supervisory authority (the Personal Data Authority) to impose fines are in line with European norms. The supervisory authority is a familiar institution among Dutch people. 

Certification of security of personal data still required

The researchers at eLaw, the centre for law and digital technology at Leiden Law School, have also shown that there is room for improvement. For example, in all countries, transparency with regard to the collection and processing of personal data still leaves much to be desired. In  the Netherlands, moreover, more needs to be done about the position of civil law organisations, the number of privacy officials, certification of the security of personal data and the dialogue issuing from the Personal Data Authority.

The Netherlands is well prepared for EU regulations

The Dutch government has already put many instruments into place relating to all aspects of the protection of privacy. As a result, the country is well prepared for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to implemented by the EU in May 2018.  The expectation is also that in future the Netherlands will be in a good position to deal with developments - particularly technological developments - affecting the protection of personal data. 

The study was carried out on behalf of the Scientific Research and Documentation  Centre for the Ministry of Security and Justice. The research findings have been published in book form: De bescherming van persoonsgegevens Acht Europese landen vergeleken, obtainable from Sdu, (ISBN 9789012400862).