And again the issue is topical: why are private data of people in the register of the Chamber of Commerce so easy to request? The reason is the threat from publicist Marcel van Roosmalen.
Tuesday he denounced in the radio program The News BV by BNNVARA Member of Parliament Gideon van Meijeren of Forum for Democracy. In an ironic column, he called him “a lizzard, a pain animal, with scales instead of toes” and “a vassal of Putin”.
Van Roosmalen received threats that he himself associated with a TV broadcast of Ongehoord Nederland in which the matter was discussed. An NSB flag was sent to his house and an address of the shelter for his children was also shared.
Van Roosmalen shared the threats on Twitter and also ‘thanked’ the Chamber of Commerce “for facilitating”. Must there be deaths first, early writer Ronald Giphart expresses itself in a statement of support.
In the Trade Register of the Chamber of Commerce, residential addresses of entrepreneurs and self-employed persons have been protected since 1 January, but the business address is not. That’s because people need to be able to see who they’re doing business with, says the Chamber of Commerce. This is a privacy problem, because for many self-employed persons the business address is also the home address. This makes it easy to find out where they live.
In response to Van Roosmalen’s tweet, the Chamber of Commerce has tried to get in touch with him. “We want to discuss with him how we can help him,” said spokesman Ron Sinnige. “That contact has not yet been successful.”
A lot will probably change as of 1 July, because the current law will then be amended. It is already the case that if people can demonstrate that they are being threatened, data can be protected immediately. From July this will also be possible if people fear that they will be threatened because of their profession, says Sinnige, a so-called ‘probable threat’.
After screening, a tailor-made structural solution is then considered. This may include the address of a professional association or of a major client as the business address. This is already possible for journalists and politicians and the Chamber of Commerce is in talks with professional associations to arrange this for other professional groups as well.
The problem remains that action can only be taken after a (probable) threat, says Peter ter Velde of PersVeilig, in which the NVJ trade union and the police and the Public Prosecution Service work together. “Then it is too late, we want you to be able to take more measures at the front.” He wants all self-employed workers to be able to choose to protect their address.
According to Ter Velde, the Chamber of Commerce is certainly willing. “When I call, data is shielded very quickly.” However, there are still a number of practical problems, such as defining the term journalist. “Who all fall under that?”
According to Ter Velde, the problem affects many more professional groups. “What about scientists who also have a small business and have registered it at their home address.”
According to Ter Velde, people should also be much more aware of what they share online. “Journalists are also sometimes quite naive about this, which is why we also provide training on this.”
In addition to amending the current law, whole new legislation is also being looked at, but that is a long-term affair. “We have to see whether our systems are still appropriate for this time and the risks at play,” said the new Minister of Economic Affairs Adriaansens about this last month.