Anonymity and the Law in the Netherlands
LESSONS FROM THE IDENTITY TRAIL: ANONYMITY, PRIVACY AND IDENTITY IN A NETWORKED SOCIETY, I. Kerr, V. Steeves, C. Lucock, eds., pp. 503-521, Oxford University Press, 2009
20 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009
Date Written: 2009
Anonymity is important in current society. The feeling that anonymity is disappearing has raised the question of whether a right to anonymity exists or whether such a right should be created. In this chapter, a contribution to ‘Lessons From the Identity Trail’ on anonymity, privacy and identity in a networked society, we address this question from a Dutch legal perspective. It provides an overview of relevant areas in Dutch law where a right to anonymity may be found, construed, or contested: in constitutional law, in criminal law, and in private law. We also discuss anonymity in public spaces and the anonymity in citizen-government relationships: service delivery, e-voting, anonymized case-law, and naming and shaming. Finally, we draw conclusions regarding the right to anonymity in current Dutch law. This right turns out to be only piecemeal, and rather weak. We conclude with a reflection on these conclusions: should a right to anonymity – or, at least, a more powerful right than the current one – be created in Dutch law?
Keywords: anonymity, the Netherlands, constitutional law, criminal law, e-government
JEL Classification: K10, K12, K14, K41
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