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'America may have access to Dutch digital patient records'

Friday 30 November 2012

The American authorities may have access to information stored in the new Dutch digital patient record system because it is being built by a US firm, Nos television reports.

The system is being developed for the Dutch government by CSC, an American company with operations in the Netherlands.

Legal experts at Amsterdam University warn that the American authorities may be able to claim access because of the Patriot Act.


'This makes it possible to force an American company to hand over information it is managing,' researcher Joris van Hoboken said. 'This applies even if the company has a Dutch arm and the computers are in the Netherlands.'

The director of VZVZ, the organisation setting up the system, told Nos television he would withdraw the contract unless the company gives assurances it is not covered by the Patriot Act. 'We want a guarantee,' Edwin Velzel said.

If the contract is withdrawn, it will cause lengthy delays in the development of the electronic patient records scheme. The project is already under fire because of privacy concerns.

Your thoughts? Use the comment box below.

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

Well waddya know? This nonsense gets from bad to worse. Bribing doctors and pharmacies to coerce their patients into joining and blacklisting those that don't. Saying that 98% of the population want it, and having it run and funded by insurance companies with an obvious conflict of interest. Is there anything about this scheme that is legal or worthy of any merit?

By jaycee | 30 November 2012 3:53 PM

Why would the Americans want our digital patient record? I see this as another reason not to consent to signing up. I say scrap the project and spend the money on something everyone (Dutch/expat) can benefit from.

By dee | 30 November 2012 4:14 PM

If this is true this is crazy !!!!!

Is there no privacy left ?

By michael | 30 November 2012 4:15 PM

I do not mind the Dutch Hospitals & Doctors having access to my medical records BUT object Srongly to other countries having access .

By P.Wrench | 30 November 2012 4:34 PM

'America may have access to Dutch digital patient records' Walking the streets, the supermarkets I think about the simplicity of the Dutch. Do you know the cornel of every computer chip belongs to the Americans, so as to control whatever as has been shown.

By Terence Hale | 30 November 2012 5:08 PM

It's a threat to our privacy: we should be given a CHOICE!

Facebook is not compulsory, the same should apply for our private medical details, period!

By The visitor | 30 November 2012 5:24 PM

It's not just a possibility - under the PATRIOT act these US corporations are _obliged_ to hand over any and all data. There's no way around it.

By glenn_uk | 30 November 2012 6:02 PM

The seeming fact that neither VZVZ nor the government had verified the possibility of US govt access before awarding the contract suggests either total imbecility, criminal negligence or deliberate betrayal. All three reasons not to have (any of) them doing the job. What an incompetent nonsense.

By roger thurman | 30 November 2012 6:27 PM

Many people joke about Britain being the 51st state of the USA, is Netherlands the 52nd?

By @CluthaDubh | 30 November 2012 6:45 PM

I find it ironic that people outside the USA thought it acceptable for a non-USA company to make/maintain voting machines used in the USA but raise a hue & cry when a US company makes a health record system for a non-USA country. Hypocrisy, anyone?

By Drawer 22 | 30 November 2012 7:49 PM

this is scary get out of it while you can

By roelie tisserand | 30 November 2012 7:53 PM

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 , sets national standards for the security of electronic protected health information; and the confidentiality provisions of the Patient Safety Rule, which protects identifiable information being used to analyze patient safety events and improve patient safety. clearinghouses, and those health care providers that conduct certain health care transactions electronically. It is a felony if violated with severe penalties. Basically Dutch records are safer there than in Holland where there have been several breaches already!

By M | 30 November 2012 9:51 PM

Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics."
- Mark Twain's Own Autobiography: The Chapters from the North American Review

By Highlander | 1 December 2012 7:46 AM

Heve the Dutch learned anything from their horrid record of betrayal and collaboration in WW2? My Dutch family was almost entirely murdered by the Nazis, with help from records listing one's religion. Now the Insurers want doctors to inform (the insursrs) if a patient doesn't comply. The words used are "aan de bel trekken." What does that mean? And then there's the Patriot Act stuff. Just Resist.

By Husserl | 1 December 2012 10:31 AM

Too much to think about nothing. Some politians love the recognition even over minor and impracticle matters. Why would the US even want Dutch patient records under their anti-terrorist act? Can the politians give us an example before stirring the pot and causing the public additional insecurity. Demoncracy demands responsible politians.

By roland | 1 December 2012 11:18 AM

Although I am completely against this, of course, I cannot help but marvel and laugh at the naïveté of the Dutch government (and voters) for allowing this to happen this way. I sometimes have the feeling that the Netherlands is the little lap doggie of the US, the way they often think and do things here. Of course no Dutch person will ever actually admit that, but it sure seems true. The Patriot Act has been in action for many years, the digital patient system here is brand new. Why didn't the NL gov foresee and prevent this?

By B | 1 December 2012 2:01 PM

Good, maybe we can all start getting a proper diagnosis and medical care rather than being fobbed off with paracetamol.

By Quest | 1 December 2012 6:43 PM

To michael: The answer is no. Sorry, but it's the truth.

By canaljumper | 1 December 2012 8:19 PM

Dear lord. Where would some people be without their bogey man the US? Foil hats people, foil hats.

By DH | 2 December 2012 1:22 AM

Funny, why we Americans have any interest in Dutch patient records. This is the last thing we need to know to rule the world!
Anyway, whatever data you put into digial is doomed to be hacked by morons like wikileaks and the like. You should be worried about that part of the reward.

By mel | 2 December 2012 2:31 PM

Each resident in NL have in 2007 records in about 740 databases.
One of them is SWIFT that is the only way to transfer of money between banks, especially internationally.
One center of SWIFT is in Brussels one is in the US.
all transferrer records exists in both countries.
Privacy, does not exist.

By thinker | 3 December 2012 7:11 AM

The system is absolutely not secure - but its is cheap.
Patient confidentiality is thrown out of the window to save few Euros.
Giving the contact to a Dutch company would have huge benefits, the expertise exists here and the money would be recycled in the economy.
A minister with no understanding of the issues creates another crisis in waiting

By nd | 3 December 2012 10:35 AM

Well, it's not a big deal to me. I'd be most happy if they use my data to focus their research into my ailments.... I would be more worried if other things like credit card details are being pried into.

I guess this applies to any country to which development is outsourced. Patriot Act or not, USA or not, there is always the danger that the authorities can access our data.

By GGG | 3 December 2012 10:55 AM

I dont think its much of an issue for the Hollander's. To have access to data is a big thing as long as one can make use of it productively. There is no scope for America or any other country to use it for any gains other than using it for the wrong reasons which is abvoisuly - access of personal or private information.

By Expat | 3 December 2012 10:57 AM

You should probably be more worried about your mobile phone, utilities records and banking details being maintained in India.

By Sarah | 3 December 2012 11:34 AM

My biggest bugbear with the digital record system, is that it will be impossible for anyone in the system to get an independent second opinion from another doctor or specialist.

By jaycee | 3 December 2012 12:52 PM

I would think that just because an American company, with an operation in NL, is developing this new system... it would depend on where and who is storing and managing the data, as to whether patient information can be accessed under the Patriot Act.

By tulipgiirl | 3 December 2012 2:46 PM

Gotta love those saying "so what? what's the problem with the US having access?" Here's the thing: based on those records the US could potentially deny visas, residence permits, wedding licenses and a whole set of other documents.

Until not long ago (perhaps that has changed? I am not up to date), the US required that every traveller fill in a form including HIV status. Supposedly, HIV positive people were not allowed to enter the US. Imagine what they'd do if they had unrestricted access to patient's records...

By Gretchen | 3 December 2012 3:45 PM

Ah yes, here is the relevant link. Obama lifted the traveling ban for people with HIV in 2009.


Think twice before you see nothing wrong with the US government having access to your records.

By Gretchen | 3 December 2012 3:47 PM

All Governments request data and collaborate. The US does not want Dutch medical records (Patriot Act is focused on terrorism). I suspect the real motive is wanting a DUTCH firm to fill the contract rather than a Dutch division of an American company (so count out Microsoft, IBM, Google, Accenture, Cap Gemini, etc) like CSC

By James | 3 December 2012 4:19 PM

When I visited the USA in 1979, I had to sign an immigration form at Kennedy Airport stating that I was not homosexual, I'll say no more..

By The visitor | 4 December 2012 3:00 PM

It is illegal to host patient records outside of the EU, be told.

By Simon Ratner | 4 December 2012 4:02 PM

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