The draft law allowing government agencies to proactively approach individuals eligible for benefits or allowances requires further modifications, according to the Dutch Data Protection Authority (AP). Specifically, individuals should receive clear information in advance about which personal data will be exchanged between agencies.

 

The AP’s findings come after reviewing the proposed Law on Proactive Service Provision by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW), which amends the Implementation Structure Act on Work and Income (SUWI).

 

Currently, within the existing system for work, income, and social security, entities such as the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV), the Social Insurance Bank (SVB), and municipalities already exchange certain personal data. The purpose of the new bill is to allow these entities to also exchange data to identify individuals who may be missing out on benefits or social provisions and to contact them accordingly.

Need for Clarification

“The AP understands the intention, as it is beneficial if people receive what they are rightfully entitled to,” says AP board member Katja Mur. “However, it should be properly organized from the start, with clear agreements about which personal information will be used so that individuals are not taken by surprise.”

 

Which Benefits and Provisions?

It is not yet clear which specific benefits and social provisions the new approach will apply to. These details will be outlined in lower regulations that are not subject to parliamentary approval. This could include benefits like the supplementary income provision for the elderly, certain forms of social assistance, or the child-related budget.

 

Types of Personal Data?

The draft law does not specify which personal data the UWV, SVB, and municipalities will process. For example, will it involve sensitive information such as financial data? Without this clarity, individuals cannot make informed decisions about their willingness to share their data. The proposal must explicitly state which categories of personal data will be used in this new approach. Additionally, a retention period for the personal data should be established.

 

Opt-out

In practice, some individuals may not want their data used for ‘proactive service provision,’ for various reasons. They should be able to opt-out. However, the draft law does not require the UWV, SVB, and municipalities to maintain a joint opt-out registry. This means individuals would need to opt-out separately with each agency. The AP insists this collective opt-out provision should be included in the law.