Municipality uses cameras to combat welfare fraud

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6 February, 2014

The Municipality of Nijmegen is going to use cameras to detect welfare fraudsters. The proposal for this plan was topic of debate and research for some time, but this week, it was given a green light.

The intention to use cameras was there already, because the municipality of Nijmegen was looking for methods to make the enforcement of the Dutch Work and Welfare Act easier. The plan is to aim cameras at the front door of people who are suspected of welfare fraud, so the municipality is able to see what happens around the address concerned.

However, there are a number of conditions that should be met. There should be a serious presumption of fraud and the alderman must grant permission personally. The people who will be filmed must be informed. These guidelines are drafted in cooperation with the Data Protection Authority, according to Omroep Gelderland.

In the town council, there was opposition from the GreenLeft party, that argues that the proposal breaches civil rights. The deployment of new technologies for enforcement purposes is controversial. The question is always whether the purpose (in this case the detection of welfare fraud) outweighs the impact on the privacy of citizens. The coming year will show whether the use of cameras is really effective in the fight against fraud.

Jonathan Toornstra

Legal researcher

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