Dutch students launch petition for referendum on ‘big brother’ law

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Four science students at the University of Amsterdam have started a petition calling for a referendum on new Dutch laws giving far greater powers to the security services to intercept and monitor internet traffic.

The controversial legislation, which is due to come into effect in 2018, has been slammed by privacy experts as a ‘big brother’s charter’.

The four students have so far collected 10,000 signatures which first need to be assessed by the voting council Kiesraad. Once approved, they can then launch the campaign to collect 300,000 votes to force a referendum.

‘It is remarkable how little discussion this far-reaching law has generated,’ Joran van Apeldoorn told the Parool. ‘But we know from England, where similar legislation is already in force, that it does not increase the likelihood of catching terrorists.’

If successful, it would be the second time that activists have forced a nationwide referendum on an issue. Shockblog GeenStijl managed to do so in 2015 to force a referendum on the EU’s treaty with Ukraine.