Dutch regulators press for better information about online use of internet users’ data

Businesses, organizations, and governments must inform people better about how they use their data online. That is the opinion of the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM), the Dutch Data Protection Authority (AP), the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM), and the Dutch Media Authority (CvdM). That is why they will launch a study into how businesses, organizations, and governments are able to inform internet users in a way that everybody understands.

This will be one of the first actions of the Digital Regulation Cooperation Platform (SDT), which ACM, AP, AFM, and CvdM launched in late 2021.

The different ways in which people can be influenced online are increasing rapidly, in part because more and more data about their behavior can be collected. The Digital Regulation Cooperation Platform believes that people must know what happens to their data behind the scenes. If internet users are aware that their data is used, for example, for an algorithm as a result of which they only get to see certain products or information, they will understand that, as a result thereof, they may be influenced. 

The Digital Regulation Cooperation Platform believes that businesses, organizations, and governments must clearly explain this. How they can do so best will be jointly studied by the SDT members. The SDT wishes to gain more insight into how people, when using the internet, can be protected as much as possible against online deception or abuse of personal data. On the basis of the study’s findings, the SDT members will together draw up manuals for effective, online transparency. Furthermore, the SDT will point out to the Dutch legislature any instances where no rules or regulatory framework exist yet for certain types of harmful practices. 

In addition, the SDT members will coordinate how they will enforce compliance with new European rules with regard to digitalization. This concerns, for example, new rules for dealing with large technology companies, the data economy, and the platform economy (such as the Digital Services Act, the Digital Markets Act, the Data Governance Act, and the Artificial Intelligence Act). These contain elements over which different regulators have oversight. The SDT members will identify any areas of overlap or what elements cannot be clearly assigned to one or more members. Afterwards, it will be possible to make a collective, coordinated contribution to the Netherlands’ position on rules and regulations (Dutch and European).

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