Dutch Police Social Media Activity Raise Privacy Concerns
Following a Bellingcat workshop, a group of investigative journalists from the Dutch public broadcaster KRO-NCRV spent the last six months investigating social media platforms used by the Dutch National Police Force. After analyzing data and footage from YouTube videos, tweets, Facebook and Instagram posts, we reached the following conclusion: Dutch police are sometimes careless with the privacy of victims or suspects. Thomas Mulder, one of the journalists, explains how they conducted their investigation.
On April 12, 2017, we met with privacy expert Rejo Zenger in order to find out more about camera surveillance in the Netherlands. After a few minutes of conversation, Zenger mentioned bodycams and video material from the Dutch police as an interesting lead. The Dutch police are currently experimenting with body cameras, Zenger said, but this led to a series of questions: How do the police deal with surveillance camera footage? Do they have to ask permission when they want to use a camera?
The privacy expert also advised us to look into videos made by the police and uploaded on YouTube to help answer some of these questions.
We decide to follow Zenger’s advice by investigating videos shared on YouTube that have been uploaded by the Dutch police. Soon we found a vlogger by the name of Jan-Willem Schut–a police officer from Almere who has his own YouTube channel where he has uploaded videos showing his normal working day since May 30, 2016. As of when this article was written, Jan-Willem had over a massive audience with 130,000 subscribers and over 14 million views on his YouTube channel.
Jan-Willem is not the only police officer in the Netherlands who has become a sort of YouTube sensation, though he is probably the most popular. In Amsterdam, police officer Tess is also active as a vlogger on YouTube, with over 12,000 …read more