A few weeks ago, I came across an article in the dutch newspaper. It was about a man who was arrested after having sent a text message to his dad with the word: BOMB. The son, wanted to go to a soccer game with his dad (Fortuna-MVV). Beneath, the whatsapp conversation between the father and his son:
Son: dad do you have time to come to the soccer game with me?
Dad: Nice, I’m gonna join you! Hope that they will not throw a bomb! Haha
(dad was referring to a bomb incident that happened last year during the same soccer game).
Son: Please behave dad, ofc they won’t. I have made my own bomb haha
10 minutes later.. the police rings the door bell. 4 tough police men with guns enter their home: ”We are going to arrest you..”
After this incident was published in the newspaper, a huge commotion through the country started. Was the police reading all whatsapp messages? What were their goals? Were they defiling privacy rules? Politicians in the country came to the conclusion that this was a typical example of how the right of the state is aforementioned the right of the citizen.
The next day, the Dutch police explained that they indeed derive information from whatsapp messages and that they filter certain words in all whatsapp messages throughout the country, ”for the sake of the Dutch citizen”, as they argued.
The boy explained that it was just a joke and that he and his dad had been afraid last year when a big bomb was thrown onto the field. So that he just sent a message to his dad saying that he made the bomb himself. He said that these were the only 4 sentences where they were talking about the bomb. They have furthermore never talked about it again. Directly afterwards, the police came to his home. The ministry of justice claims that they are not, a so-called, big brother and that they do not derive information unthinkingly. However, the debate has already been started about whether this is going to far or whether this is protection of Dutch citizens.