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The Dutch Dataprotection Authority ‘Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens’ (AP) has sent a letter to the informateur (read pdf), in which the supervisor asks for a fourfold increase of its current budget of 24.6 million euros. In its own words, the AP needs 100 million euros per year to do its job properly.

In 2021, the regulator will get 24.6 million euros budget and that is far too little according to the AP. “Investments are necessary now to move our digital society forward,” the authority writes. “The AP’s budget must therefore grow to a structural funding of 100 million euros, comparable to other Dutch regulators.”

In addition to having a backlog of complaints to process, the AP says it is also unable to do enough outreach to citizens and businesses. Among other things, the authority also possesses too little capacity to impose fines and supervise algorithms that process personal data.

“The scope of the AP’s work is unprecedentedly broad and also has an international dimension,” the AP writes. “This makes the AP’s field of supervision significantly different from that of other regulators, who focus on organizations that operate in a specific sector or that only provide a certain service.”

The AP is therefore writing a letter to the informateur, stating that action is required from the new cabinet. “Only then can the Netherlands continue to grow responsibly economically and further digitize.”

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Capacity and budget have long been AP’s pain point

The regulator has often sounded the alarm, because there is too little budget and manpower to handle privacy complaints from people. On average it now takes six months before the complaint is handled. At the end of 2020 there were still almost ten thousand complaints on the shelf, the supervisor reported in March. Of these, some were still from 2019.

In 2020, a total of 25,590 complaints were received about possible abuses involving personal data. That number is slightly less than in 2019, when 27,850 privacy complaints were received, but the AP still called the number “worryingly high.” Since 2019, the number of complaints has increased significantly. In 2018, the number of complaints was still 15,600.


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