Yesterday, together with a number of other businesses and civil organisations, BIT has sent a letter to Mark Rutte to request postponement for the entry into force of the Law on the Intelligence and Security services.
Dear mr Rutte,
We, a broad coalition of civil organisations, want to ask you and your government to postpone the entry into force of the Law on the Intelligence and Security services 2017 until after the possible referendum.
As you know, an advisory referendum is likely to be organised on the Law on Intelligence and Security services 2017 (“dragnet law”). There is strong social resistance against this law. From stakeholders to businesses and the worried citizen: from all corners of society comes the call for a broad social debate. Reaching the threshold for organising a referendum sends and important signal: the political decision-making has not sufficiently taken the citizen’s concerns into account.
Usually the occurrence of an advisory referendum has a suspensory effect on the law that will be voted on. The dragnet law, however, uses the exception in the Law Advisory Referendum to ignore the suspensory effect. The part of the law that concerns the surveillance on intelligence and security services has already been implemented. The rest of the law, including the (new) authorities, does not have a clear implementation date, although the date of January 1, 2018 comes up regularly. The referendum will take place on March 21, 2018. A short three months after the intended entry into force.
The result of the referendum is an advise about the dragnet law to you and your government. In the coming months, the Dutch people will form an opinion on this law and cast a vote. With the entry into force before voting, you show not only that you do not want our advice, but that you will ignore the opinion of your citizens in advance. It is of great importance to the credibility of our democratic system that the vote of the people in the referendum is considered in the decision-making process.
Out of respect for the voice of the people, it is important to bide the time now. We therefore request you and your government to postpone the entry into force of the law until after the possible referendum.
Bits of Freedom
Free Press Unlimited
Nederlandse Vereniging van Journalisten
Nederlandse Vereniging van Strafrechtadvocaten
Platform Bescherming Burgerrechten