Dutch DPA’s independence
The Dutch DPA supervises the compliance with acts that regulate the use of personal data. This means that the Dutch DPA supervises the compliance with and application of the Wet bescherming persoonsgegevens (Wbp; Dutch Data Protection Act), the Wet politiegegevens (Wpg; Police Data Act) and the Wet gemeentelijke basisadministratie (Wgba; Municipal Database [Personal Records] Act).
The Dutch DPA must be notified of the use of personal data, unless an exemption applies.
The framework for performing this task has been set forth in the Wbp and other related legislation. In this context, the legislator has implemented Article 28 of the European Privacy Directive 95/46/EC, which explicitly provides for the existence of such a supervisory authority and which also provides that this authority should fulfil its task completely independently.
These tasks sometimes relate to obligations, but as a rule they relate to powers. Subject to the law and the opinion of the court, the Dutch DPA is entitled to take decisions itself regarding the execution of these powers. Other tasks, such as providing information and conducting studies of new developments, result from the general supervisory task. Also in view of its independence, the Dutch DPA has considerable free rein to work out the details of its tasks within the frameworks of the act and to set the necessary priorities and decide where to lay particular emphasis.
Tasks and powers of the Dutch DPA:
- Making recommendations regarding legislation
- Testing codes of conduct
- Testing regulations
- Notification and preliminary examination
- Exemption from the prohibition to process sensitive data
- Making recommendations regarding permits for transfers to third countries
- International affairs
- Mediation and handling of complaints
- Official investigation
- International tasks
Guarantees regarding a proper performance of the tasks
In the execution of its powers, the Dutch DPA is bound by the standards laid down in the Algemene wet bestuursrecht (Awb; General Administrative Law Act). In view of the enforcement powers, the guarantees regarding the proper fulfilment of the tasks have been specified more stringently in the act:
- The possibility of objection to and appeal against Dutch DPA decisions to the administrative law court.
- The possibility of submitting a complaint to the National Ombudsman.
- The Wet openbaarheid van bestuur (WOB; Freedom of Information Act) applies.
- Pursuant to Article 56(3) Wbp, the Dutch DPA is obliged to adopt administrative regulations, among other things providing for rules regarding the work methods and procedures in view of the proper and careful performance of the various tasks.
- As an administrative body, the Dutch DPA is of course also bound by the general principles of proper administration.
Each year, the Dutch DPA publishes a public report explaining its work and findings. This web site contains summaries of the annual reports for recent years.