Dutch voters say ′no′ to new spy law | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 29.03.2018
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Dutch voters say 'no' to new spy law

Voters in the Netherlands narrowly rejected a proposed law granting authorities sweeping powers to spy on their data. The referendum was non-binding, but the government has said it will take the results seriously.

More than 6 million voters rejected a planned law that would have granted security services sweeping powers to spy on people's emails and other online data, the Dutch electoral council announced Thursday.

Read more: Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal: What you need to know

Some 13 million were eligible to vote in the referendum, which is non-binding, but Prime Minister Mark Rutte vowed to take the results seriously despite being a proponent of the proposed law. Vice Prime Minister Kajsa Ollongren, however, said the government would take its time to consider the results, the ANP news agency said.

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Fighting terrorism?

The government has stressed that the new regulations would help in the fight against terrorism, but critics say data protection and privacy are being undermined.  

The result comes afterCambridge Analytica misused the data of 50 million Facebook usersallegedly to influence elections in the US and the UK.

Turnout stood at 51.5 percent, which was enough to validate the results; 49.4 percent voted down the law, while 46.5 percent were in favor.

Read more: Netherlands : Coalition deal reached after 209 days

The referendum, which started as a citizens' initiative by a group of Amsterdam students, was held on March 21 alongside local elections.

It is likely to be the last of its kind as legislation to repeal the laws under which they can be organized are set to be passed by parliament soon.

ng/sms (AFP, dpa)

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