Currently, we are working from home as much as possible and this will continue to be the case. Across The Netherlands, people are logging into school- or office networks in large numbers. We are developing special apps to combat the spread of coronavirus. Retailers and apps are using facial-recognition technology and the platform economy is in the ascendancy. Education, Public Health, Defence, Justice & Security: all of the committees in the Dutch House of Representatives have to deal with the issues related to advancing digitisation.

However, currently the topic is not addressed in coherence and to its full extend.
Indeed, some digital topics are not being tackled at all. Parliament must begin to address the impact of digitisation on public values consistently, from employment through to equal opportunities.

The temporary committee on the Digital Future was tasked with investigating how the House of Representatives can gain a greater understanding and control of the issue of digitisation, of how it can tackle opportunities and threats more effectively, in the Netherlands and Europe. The temporary committee on the Digital Future has concluded that the first step in this process should be the establishment of a standing parliamentary committee for Digital Affairs, starting in the next Cabinet term.

The temporary committee on the Digital Future (TCDF) recommends that the House of Representatives should:

  • establish a standing committee for Digital Affairs;
  • draw up a Digitisation knowledge agenda in order to determine which information the House requires on this subject;
  • enable the new committee to provide support to other committees;
  • ensure that there is a comprehensive statutory framework and system of supervision for digitisation;
  • place additional focus on European Union legislation and how it is shaped.

The TCDF has provided for an English written summary of the report Update required. You could also download the full report (written in Dutch, pdf, 1,9 mb).

The report Update required is presented to the President of the House of Representatives
The committee's chair Mrs. Kathalijne Buitenweg (on the right) has presented the report Update required to the President of the House of Representatives, Mrs. Khadija Arib.

A standing committee for Digital Affairs

According to the TCDF’s recommendation, the new committee will scrutinise and examine new legislation put forward by the Minister responsible for digitisation, or, in their absence, the Minister with which the committee primarily deals. The new committee will also monitor future developments and, where necessary, inform and support the other parliamentary committees. It will take the lead in a coherent and integrated examination of digitisation issues in the House of Representatives that go beyond the remits of individual committees. It will also serve as a point of contact for digitisation issues both for the Cabinet and for civil-society groups, the business community, academia and others.

Collecting and applying knowledge and greater control over European legislation

The TCDF also proposes that the standing committee for Digital Affairs should compile an annual research agenda for the purpose of gathering knowledge itself. In addition, it will examine whether the legislation and regulations are adequate. If necessary, it will propose amendments or additions to these. It will engage in continual discussion with the supervisory authorities, in part in order to ensure that there are no gaps or overlaps in supervision. Finally, the committee will monitor what is happening at European level, helping to shape Dutch input to the EU on this issue.

About the temporary committee on the Digital Future

The temporary committee on the Digital Future was established by the House of Representatives on Tuesday, the 2nd of July 2019. The need for greater understanding and control of digitisation is felt across the House. The House believes it is important for it to outline a framework, encourage developments and set boundaries. Ultimately, digital technology has significant positive but also possible negative consequences for society, for employment, security and democracy. In order to be able to direct digital developments, the House wishes to organise itself as effectively as possible. The temporary committee was tasked with coming up with proposals to this end.