The Labour party is hoping to win enough backing in parliament for new legislation to limit the way banks and insurance companies can make commercial use of information about their clients.
‘Banks and insurers are actively looking at what they can do with all the client information they gather,’ Labour MP Henk Nijboer told the Financieele Dagblad. ‘Financial institutions’ duty of care must be extended so that customers are not simply asked yes or no, but are given a choice about what information they want to share.’
Two years ago there was an outcry when ING said it was considering selling companies information about what its customers spend their money on so they can directly target advertising at them. That plan was dropped after protests.
And last year, Achmea said it planned to offer premium discounts to customers who agree to have their behaviour at home and in the car monitored.
The legislation will also set limits on data mining – the process of combing and analyzing huge amounts of data which could be used, for example, in determining if someone is credit-worthy.
‘If privacy is up for sale, there will be a real division in society,’ Nijboer said.
Current EU legislation leaves too many doors open for data sharing and rules for the Dutch market are needed,’ the legislation’s backers say. Privacy is a basic right and the government should be protecting citizens against losing that right, Nijboer said.