Municipality of Amsterdam searched content Facebook profiles




In 2015 and 2016, the municipality of Amsterdam collected more data from young loiter in the city than it initially admitted. Not only friend connections were mapped, but also posts and reactions to compile profiles were examined, according to research by NRC.

The profiles had to answer questions such as who communicates with whom, what they are talking about, what their motives are and what kind of trends could be found in areas such as topics, language use, communication times and groupings. In addition, those circles also searched for “interesting figures” who had connections with the nuisance youngsters, but were not actually in the sights of the municipality. Three such persons would be treated in an internal presentation.

Earlier this year , it became apparent that the municipality had the youngsters in Amsterdam North and South examined, but it was maintained that this only happened on the basis of their public Facebook friends lists and not the further content of their profiles and their activities on the social network. . The municipality should have informed the youth about this, the Dutch Data Protection Authority concluded shortly afterwards. As far as these new facts are concerned, the same applies: the municipality should have informed the AP and the young loiterers at the time, as the municipality processed personal data from the youngsters, even though these data were already publicly available.

Earlier this year the municipality denied that there was any processing of personal data, but from internal documents, intended for a discussion with then mayor Van der Laan, it now appears that the municipality was aware of the fact that it was personal data and that certain regulations were involved.

Not only would the NRC have received the full picture of the municipality earlier this year, but the municipal council itself would not have been informed about the full breadth of this research. The NRC has brought the withheld facts to the surface via an appeal to the Government Information (Public Access) Act.

The responsible district chairman, D66’er Sebastiaan Capel, acknowledges that the rules have been violated. “We have not done this right, we have violated privacy,” he says to the newspaper. If the investigation were to be carried out again, it would be different according to him.


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