Wednesday, 02 March 2016
Open VLD (the Flemish Conservative-Liberals) do not want digital fingerprints of all Belgians to be taken. “This is a disproportionate step,” the Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, after his colleague of the N-VA (New Flemish Alliance) suggested it on Tuesday. “Or have we all suddenly become terrorist suspects?” he asked.
The Interior Minister, Jan Jambon, visiting Morocco had implied that this discussion might have been developing in Belgium.
His coalition partner, Open Vld, does not subscribe to the same view. “Database recording of the digital fingerprints of 11 million Belgians in a database is disproportionate,” Alexander De Croo considers. He observes that a similar proposal has already been discussed by the government but was not accepted. “It is inefficient to continuously reopen the same debates. That is not how we will move forward.”
The government decided to collect digital fingerprints of individuals who represent a danger according to those analysing the terrorist threat and who are on the list maintained by OCAM (the Organisation for Threat Analysis Coordination). However, Open Vld has no wish to extend this measure to all Belgians, with De Croo saying ironically “Or have we all suddenly become terrorist suspects?”
The Secretary of State for the Protection of Privacy, Bart Tommelein (Open Vld), completely agrees with this. He questions both the cost and practical use of the measure, particularly in modern Europe where free movement of people abounds.