Baby boomers cause fuss in AOW payments


A lot of elderly people are now in trouble because there is not enough money to provide for all the retired people, the amount of elderly increased a lot in comparison to the amount of people who are active in the labor market. It is now very difficult to create a balance between the amount of money the retired people will receive and the amount of money an active laborer will pay for these retired people. The main question here is how we are going to form this balance without depleting the labourers but remain a good life for the retired people?

The cause of this so called ‘vergrijzing’ is the baby boom. After the 2nd world war it was finally safe to make children. People started reproducing at the same time, but these children got old at the same time as well. After the baby boom, families got relatively smaller also did the establishment of anti-conception contribute to the generations after the baby boomers to be with less children. Healthcare has also improved a lot, especially heart and vessel diseases are a lot more treatable which causes elderly people to live longer. Adding this all up you can say that there is an overload of elderly people, and they are relatively healthy so far.

Because of these baby boomers the balance between the active workers and retired people has been changed. The active workers have to pay more tax to provide all the elderly people for a payment (AOW). This is where 2 parties clash, the active workers do not want to pay too much for these retired people, while these baby boomers are now living short of cash. So the 2 parties both had to sacrifice something, the elderly have to work 2 years longer so the retirement age has been changed to 67 years. The active workers have to pay more taxes. Both parties are very upset about the solutions for this problem, the situation of the elderly is not improving a lot while the workers still pay more money in taxes.

Is there a way that we can balance the economic burden? At first it is very important to enable more jobs so that we can create more active workers. Right now the Netherlands is recovering from an economic crisis, we have to invest more in job opportunities since there are a lot of people who are looking for a job but who can’t find any. Since the harm is already done it is very difficult to come up with a short term problem, this is why the ‘vergrijzing’ is so difficult. I think that the raise of the retirement age was a good idea, you cannot expect that the active workers have to pay more tax while the elderly are not doing something in return. In addition to that, people on average become older which means that they have a longer payment. To make up for the retired people should work a little longer.

We have now seen that when there isn’t  a good balance between the active workers and the non-active you see that payments can come in great danger. This is why I think we should rise the premiums for wealthier people. I think that the strongest shoulders should carry the most weight, by rising the premiums, the payments for the retired people become higher. Of course the wealthier people are not happy with this change but I do think that the care for older people is very important. It might seem like a bad situation for the wealthy, but they will get payments when they are retired as well.

The vergrijzing is a very difficult problem which is hard to solve on a short term. All the changes we can make to solve this problem cause one group to be unhappy, that is why I think that both groups should sacrifice themselves for the sake of steady retirement payments.


LWEO Economie boek

Author: Amber Aerts


Turkish referendum clashes fundamental rights

The relationship between Turkey and the Netherlands has taken a step backwards after a Afbeeldingsresultaat voor turks referendumTurkish minister of family business was blocked and expelled from the Netherlands.  Minister kaya came to Rotterdam with the intention to deliver a speech on Turkey’s constitutional referendum in the Turkish consulate. There has been a lot of critique against the constitutional change Erdogan is suggesting, this would give him more power, and could eventually lead to a dictatorship in Turkey. The Dutch constitution states that everyone has got the freedom to express themselves, by sending Kaya away, we disables her from expressing her thoughts and ideas about the upcoming Erdogan referendum. Does the expelling of Kaya go against the freedom of speech, and have we crossed the line by sending her away or is it justified for our current situation.

For the first time, almost all politicians agreed it was wisely to send Kaya back to Turkey. Why wouldn’t the ministers just let her speak out about this constitutional change? Firstly it was important to remain the public safety, by letting Kaya attend to the meeting she would stimulate the constitutional change which could have effects for the peace our the state and other surrounding states. Secondly doesn’t the Netherlands allow Turkish public political campaigns, which was kind of Kaya’s intention.

It is understandable that the Dutch government does not want to stimulate Erdogan’s behaviour, but let’s look at it from a different perspective. The Dutch citizens with a Turkish passport have the right to vote at the referendum. These Turkish people want to know what they are voting for, they want all the information and campaigns the Turkish government has got to offer, just as Dutch citizens want to know everything about their national politics.  We as Dutch people live in a country where the freedom of speech is key in our culture. People may be critical about others, and are allowed to tell whatever they want to tell. Isn’t it  weird that the Dutch state disapproves the welcoming of this Turkish minister while claiming freedom of speech Is a really important factor of Dutch culture. Some people consider, even though Erdogan’s plans are not in favour of the Netherlands, there should be freedom to express yourself about the referendum, if you are for or against it not the matter.

As a Dutch nation we have certain interests, we do not want others to have too many power. The referendum may cause a lot of havoc among countries. Erdogan is building a strong army, nationalism is striking back in Turkey, is the prevention of huge campaigns justified by the protection of not only the Netherlands and its citizens but also Europe? You may consider that when Turkey gains a lot of power under influence of Erdogan, Europe could come in danger, isn’t it then important that the safety of the people is protected in favour of freedom of speech? This is where different ideologies clash, if you look at it from the manner of full freedom you would say it is allowed to campaign about the referendum, but if you look at the consequences it may have for the safety of different countries within Europe, you may say that preventing Turkey from campaigning might me the solution of keeping peace.

Considering all these angles, and views It is important to look at the collective welfare. How will the majority of the people be effected by the referendum? If Erdogan gains more power, this could lead to a totalitarian state where people in Turkey are suppressed, and people within Europe have less to say. The freedom of speech may be interrupted in Turkey, and the situation over there could really go nuts. Many people are in favour of Erdogan but do they realise what the consequences may be? Should we prevent these people from making the decision of voting ‘yes’ for the referendum or should we let society decide about faith, because majority is king?

I personally think that The Dutch state should really inform people about the Turkish referemdi, and what the effect may be on both positive and negative front.  This will have the effect that Dutch/Turkish citizens know what to vote for without being stimulated by Erdogan and his campaigns.  The lack of knowledge could really affect the voting decision of a citizen, it is therefore important that our people know what is waiting ahead of them and if they should agree to the terms of Erdogan, or decline his suggestion. It is important to keep people informed, but not only from a one sided perspective. The Turkish people may all have their own voice,  and let’s hope they will all understand the consequences of the referendum.

Concluding all of this, It is key that the freedom of speech is considered, but the safety and consequences of the referendum are just as important. These concepts may clash with each other and it is difficult to say whether one or the other is justified, but it for sure is important that the people of Turkey know what the future consequences may be, and if this is being guided correctly by the Netherlands, major mistakes should and could be prevented. Let’s not all forget that the vote of the citizen counts, whether the Dutch take action or not.


Nos 6uur Journaal


Author: Amber Aerts




Gaming pirate, or pirating gamer?

Pirating games has become way easier in the past years. With games being distributed digitally through a download, games can also be cracked and put up for download. With services like Steam you can sometimes even use the multiplayer functions of the pirated games! It seems simple to say that pirating is bad, but the subject is a way more complex than you would first think. There are a lot more factors playing a role than just the rules. It is important to look at all these factors before forming an opinion.

To start, here are some reasons why piracy is bad and shouldn’t happen: Boldly said, pirating is a form of stealing and thus illegal. When people pirate a game, they get access to its content without paying. The creators of the games have spent weeks upon weeks making it all happen. They have spent tonnes of money to make the game as good and enjoyable as it is. You shouldn’t thank them by stealing their work.

If a game is pirated, it often means that less profit is made on the game and the creators will, directly and indirectly, notice the decrease in revenue. The consequence could lead to game companies making less expensive games, which are often less good games. In some cases, the profit will be so small that the company does not even have the resources required for a new game anymore. The negative effect also implies to existing games. Updates will be bad, rushed or not even released at all.

30-35% of all PC gamers pirate games, but the volume of games they pirate is astronomically higher than expected. (source:

Now, let’s have a look on the other side of the subject. There are good reasons for piracy and there are advantages too.

One of the reasons to pirate a game is poverty. If you don’t have money, you can’t buy a game. It is known that gaming can relieve tension, stress, make you feel better and take you away from your everyday life and issues. Besides the fun and the experience of a good story in a game, this is one of the major reasons that people play games. When you are poor, your life is hard. You could very well use a moment to relax with the help of a game.

Another reason as to why pirating is quite a sensible thing to do, is the following: A lot of people, who don’t have piles of money to spend, don’t dare to buy a game if they aren’t sure it is worth their money. Therefore, those people will first try to get the game for free to see if they like it enough and if their device can run it well enough.  A lot of these people will either stop playing the game if they don’t like it, or after all buy the game to support its creators.

An indirect advantage to pirating gamers is that, if games get pirated, they do get played. This means that, if the player likes the game, he does participate in making the game more popular. This makes more people buy the game. In this way, you can still speak of revenue, even if the one player didn’t pay for it. It can be seen as form of free advertisement.

Now that we know about the complexity of piracy, we can form our statement on it. There are many good reasons and excuses to pirate games, of which a few examples are stated above. However, it is still something that you shouldn’t do. Therefore I would say that pirating is you’re your own individual choice. You should consider yourself if your reasons to pirating weigh up against the consequences it has for the world, also considering what the possible consequences are and knowing that you are responsible for them.


Author: Rick van de Sande – fReaders

Q fever, the aftermath

In 2007, in North-Brabant in the Netherlands, Q fever started to spread more and more, evolving into a Q-fever epidemic. Q fever is a disease among kettle (in the Netherlands especially with goats and sheep), which can also spread to humans. This infectious disease luckily cannot be spread from human to human. From 2007 up and until 2016 around 4,000 people got infected (according to the RIVM site) and most of the people who reported they were infected, reported in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Around 300 Q fever patients went to the court in Den Hague, due to the court case against the State, because according to patients, the government should have taken action sooner. Some of the Q fever patients lost their job because they got chronically ill. Considering their opinion that the state could have done more, they claim a compensation.

On Wednesday the 25th of January, the conclusion of the court is that the State did enough and therefore the claim to get a compensation, was denied. According to the reporter Trudy van Rijswijk, who was also at court to hear the conclusion, everyone was silent after they heard the conclusion.  Some of the patients feel unheard and they consider an appeal process.

In my opinion it would be fair that the State does have to give a compensation to these people, because the State could have done more and also earlier. The state could have placed boards near infected sheep and goat farms and also inform better in which areas there was a higher chance of getting infected. Also if the symptoms were more well-known or if there were check-ups in and near areas where the disease was spread, less people would have been infected.




Author: Daphne Mathijsen – Freaders

Sports bring people together

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor sportende kinderen

The Netherlands is called a Multi-cultural society but in fact do not all the cultures in the Netherlands live together. There is a mix of cultures in the Netherlands but  I wouldn’t call it a ‘society’. Is there a way we might be able to bring these different cultures a bit closer to each other? This could not only improve social life but also reduce the amount of racism and rise the physical and mental wellbeing.

As many people know but might not take in account is that all kind of cultures behave differently from the ‘big mass’. A lot of people think it is weird if other cultures do not behave like they belong to our culture, but for other cultures it is really difficult to adjust in a strange culture, especially when this strange culture is not helping you in the progress. A little experiment in a classroom can explain this phenomenon well.

You have to send 2 people out of the class room, while they are away the rest of the class has to make up a new rule which has to be followed every time you communicate with someone in that classroom (including the 2 people that have been send away). After they come back the experiment starts, the 2 people that have been send away have to find out what the rules are that the class came up with. The entire class acts to those rules but the 2 people that have been send out of the classroom have  no idea what these new rules are. No one has told the class that they weren’t allowed to tell the 2 people that have been send away that they are not allowed to tell the new rules, but everyone has decided to not tell the rules. This little experiment shows that if new people enter our culture we are not really willing to help, we just think that if you enter our culture you should behave like it and if you have difficulty finding it out, that is your own problem. This might sound selfish but this is how culture works. That’s why I think that the government should help other the Netherlands taking a step away from their own culture and taking a step towards other cultures. I truly think this can be reached through sports.

Sports could be the solution to unite the variety of cultures in the Netherlands. Sports involves discipline, teamwork and tactics, sports is good for the mind and for the body so not only would sports bring these people together but health issues that involve overweight can be reduced as well. Sports can make people feel confident about themselves, and even if you are not the star of the team, you can also have a great time with your team members in the (most important) 3rd half of the match as the Dutch call it. My demand is not that all adults are going to play sports but I would like to mainly focus on the children. Not only do this children from a young age grow up to be more tolerant with these other cultures, also the parents on the side line start talking with each other. This idea would have effect on both children and parents.

A lot of people from with immigrant background struggle to integrate in a society due to a lack of contact with the Dutch society. These different cultures often start living together in their own bubble, this causes their children to grow up in this bubble again, and so the circle goes on. If these children started doing sports together with the indigenous population, the bubble might pop.

The way this plan can be realised is subsidies, and the promotion of local sports clubs. Not only do these sports clubs have to increase their capacity, also the school should pay more attention to sports. For instance by creating an extra sports day, or after school sports clubs (just like they do in America). You might think that the investment in sports might be less important than some other issues that we have got in the Netherlands, but sports can be cost saving, there will be less people with overweight and other health issues that can be solved with physical movement.

Sports can be the way to bring different cultures close together, it is good for your mental and physical health and it is a lot of fun. The government should invest more money in sports, this could solve some cultural issues and maybe even other issues on long term. Sports is a must for the mind and for the heart


Author: Amber Aerts

The burns of fireworks

A few days ago, the new year has been welcomed with an immense amount of fireworks that lit up the dark sky for several hours. However, those happy, festive and coloured lights do have a darker side. With the turn of the year, a lot of accidents happened with the rockets and firecrackers. Great damage has been caused by the with gunpowder loaded rockets. Bins and containers were blown up, windows were shattered, cars were damaged or even put on fire and so on! Also, a lot of illegal fireworks have been lit. In this article, we will take a closer look at this social problem.

With the whole of Netherlands, we have spent a whopping 68 million euro on fireworks, according to the newspaper: De metro1. This is a great amount of money to simply light up, shoot away and get to explode. Besides the smoke that comes from all of the explosions that pollutes the air, little particles released during firework displays can enter the soil, water and air and can be disruptive to the environment. Fireworks have been the reason for a rapidly increasing amount accidents such as horrific burns and sometimes even deaths. Emergency services got ninety percent more calls for help than the last year2! A lot of these calls were for complete accidents, but even more were caused by people who don’t care about their or others safety. The aid workers couldn’t hold up with all the fires, wounded people and fights. In many places, their aid was welcomed with people throwing fireworks, bottles and stones at the workers. One police officer was run over by a car but couldn’t be resuscitated because of the aggressive, throwing bystanders.

It is true that fireworks are a great invention. It is great looking at the rockets exploding high in the air and exploding firecrackers are great fun as well. Fireworks are also necessary for both patriotic and religious celebrations, such as Diwali (festival of lights) and Bonfire night. Besides certain event, lighting fireworks on new year’s eve has long been a part of a lot of multiple cultures, including the Dutch culture. It has become a tradition for many to shoot rockets in the air.

However, the advantages of firework do not weigh up in the slightest against the disadvantages. Something must be done to solve this situation. Several municipalities have tried to implement firework-free zones. However, this didn’t work out at all. It caused a lot of confusion for the citizens and it was impossible for the police officers, who already had a lot of work to do, to monitor. Another solution would be to abandon the private use of firework. The compromise means that people can no longer light fireworks themselves, but the municipality would provide a professional firework show. In this manner, less money is spent on fireworks, there is only small to no danger, there is less pollution and damage to the environment and there is still firework for everyone to adore.

To conclude, the tradition of lighting fireworks is a great festive feature of new year’s eve and other events, but it comes with great consequences. Everyone sees that something should be done to solve the problem. However, finding a solution appears to be harder than first thought.



Author: Rick van de Sande

Shortage of social housing in the Netherlands

When you leave your parent’s house, you will probably spend a lot of time to find a place to live, such as a house or an apartment. You may either rent or buy it, depending on your personal situation, preferences and income. It might sound not that difficult to find a place that meets all your criteria. For instance, the amount of rooms you would like to have or if you want a backyard or not. Yet, in reality it is harder than you think.housing-market

In the Netherlands there are long waiting lists for cheap apartments and social housing for new starting families and people with a low income. This means that they cannot find affordable houses.

This article is about scheefwonen. This Dutch term means that people with increased incomes are still renting social housing. They still pay the same amount of rent as people with a low income. This might not sound as a big problem, but actually it is. It causes long waiting lists as I stated before.

In theory it seems a problem that can be solved easily, unfortunately this is not the case.

An example of an idea is the idea of VVD-minister Blok of Housing. This idea seemed to be a good solution, but it proved otherwise in practice.

The solution he thought of was, to charge a higher rent for the people with an increased income, although they lived in the same type of house as their neighbours. The purpose of this idea was, to try to stimulate them to search for a bigger and more expensive home. This will cause a circulation in the social housing market.

A new problem arises, because if these people  want to move to another house, they also cannot find a home they can afford. For instance, a family pays rent, let’s say 400 euros in the beginning. After their income increases, minister Blok wants to charge them with a higher rent, like 600 euros. The family tries to find a new home with the maximum rent of 600 euros per month, but there are only houses available with a rent of 1000 euros or more. As you can see this is quite a big problem in the Dutch housing market.

A solution could be, to build more houses. Not only social housing, but also for people with an increased income. This solution will take time and large investments. Time is the biggest problem, because the waiting lists will decrease very slowly.

All in all, the conclusion is that the idea of minister Blok doesn’t seem to work.

The other idea, building new homes, is in my opinion a better solution, yet it will take a lot of time to decrease the waiting lists. It could be a good idea, if the housing associations build houses for the different income classes. Even though it will consume a lot of time and effort, in the long run it will be worth it.


Author: Daphne Mathijsen – Freaders

HPV vaccine, yes or no?

hpv-vaccinFor many years, day in day out, people get vaccinated to prevent or decrease the chance of getting any diseases. Since 2008, girls in Europe from the age of thirteen years old have the opportunity to be vaccinated against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV for short).

These girls get an invitation to get the HPV vaccine in the year they will turn 13. They can decline or choose to get the vaccination. This vaccine aims at decreasing the chance of getting HPV. This virus can cause cells growing abnormal of the skin and mucous membrane. “Mucous membrane: the thin skin that covers the inside surface of parts of the body such as the nose and mouth and produces mucus to protect them~

HPV can also increase the chance of developing different forms of cancer, such as cervical cancer. Some types, if not destroyed by the body, can turn into a sexually transmitted disease. Therefore, to decrease the chance of preteens getting infected with this virus, they get a vaccination against two forms of HPV (HPV16 and HVP18).

A few days ago there was a documentary about this vaccination, more specifically about the side effects of this vaccination. During this documentary, it became clear that there are several girls who, after they were vaccinated, showed symptoms of chronical illnesses. Many suffer from diseases like nausea, headaches, chronic fatigues and others.

In the Netherlands, there are also girls who suffer from these symptoms after the vaccination. The pamphlet that the girls receive when they have turned 13 only describes a few side effects. Such as a red dot forming at the place you have gotten the injection, dizziness and aching muscles. nothing has been stated about possible chronical illnesses.

Researches have been carried out to find out more about the side effects of the HPV-vaccine. One of those research reports found no relation or any proof that the vaccination has anything to do with those symptoms. The girls who suffer from those symptoms and side effects think otherwise. One of the girls, named Geertje Leestra, told in the documentary that immediately after she was vaccinated, she started to get tired very easily, being exhausted, etcetera. She is not the only one: Around the world, there are around seventy thousand cases, all registered in the Vigibase in Sweden. In several countries, mothers are trying to get all the information available to the public, so people can decide if they want to take this risk. They would rather see an improvement of the vaccine so that the side effects will vanish or at least become less severe.

In the Netherlands, there is a program named Rijksvaccinatieprogramma. The program informs the public about the HPV vaccine via a pamphlet. In the documentary, it was said that many people have the impression that the vaccine is against cervical cancer. However, as I stated before, it is only a vaccination against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV16 and HVP18) which can cause cancer. Some doctors and mothers from all over the world would like more people to know what this vaccine actually does and doesn’t do.

My opinion on this issue is that the pamphlet should be more detailed and should include more about the possible serious side effects. It can also have a positive influence on the trust people have in the pharmaceutical industry and doctors. Even though there is no direct proof about the more serious side effects of the HPV vaccine, I think it is important to mention that it is possible. If people are fully informed, they can make a better decision about wheter they want to be vaccinated or not.


Author: Daphne Mathijsen

Refugees, criminal or bored?

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor asylum seekers

It has been all over the news for the past months, a lot of refugees are looking for a place to stay. They have to flee from their homes because of the dangerous environment they live in. Most refugees are looking for a new life where they can live in safety but some might have different plans. They can commit crimes or even terrorist attacks; this causes harassment for the citizens of the host countries.

People are afraid these days; terrorist attacks have created a soft spot in the society of today. We are scared of what might happen and rather build a wall around all our problems instead of facing them. Refugees often travel hundreds of kilometres to reach a destination, only to be rejected by the ones who could offer help. This has various causes.

–     Terrorists pretend to be Asylum seekers only to enter a country, as side effect refugees are being segregated from society to prevent them from any terrorist actions (or other crimes)

–     Because of the economic crisis we were facing very recently, our economic circumstances aren’t as stable as they used to be. Helping refugees is expensive, this causes many countries to invest less in refugees.

–     A couple of conflicts were registered were refugees would come in conflict with other refugees and citizens. A stereotypical image is being created that refugees can’t be trusted and are seeking for problems.

If you take a quick look at the news you see hordes of angry people when an asylum seekers centre is being built  in their nearby surroundings. The citizens of these towns believe that the safety of their fellow townsfolks is in danger. What causes people to think that refugees are criminals?

There have been a couple of incidents where refugees and other immigrants were involved in a large sexual offence. Citizens of host countries are generalising the view of a refugee. Not all refugees are criminals, but some are. Does that mean we have to segregate them from society?

I think this situation only causes refugees to commit more crimes, various interviews (for example on Powned and Vara) have been held with refugees. A large majority of those interviewed people explained that they are in boredom. Could this not mean that when refugees have got nothing to do they will commit crimes?  This is only an assumption but what would be the result if we gave refugees things as education, work and shelter?

“The asylum centre felt like a prison”

I think segregating of the refugees is having an inverted result. By segregating them, we want to prevent them from committing crimes, we want our citizens to live in a safe environment that we have today. By segregating the refugees, they will get bored: they have no work and they will never be educated. Therefore, they will do various things to enjoy themselves, committing crimes might be one of those things. I have interviewed an asylum seeker, he used to be a very successful hairdresser, he said that he felt like he was locked up.

The point is that I would like to see what happens if we gave refugees more opportunities, integrate them into society and learn them how to fit in. Firstly we could just start giving them language courses.

Refugees are people as well, and just like in our society, there are people with good and bad intentions, we can’t separate people just for having a different culture. Bringing new people of which you know little into a country brings some risks, but we could solve or at least reduce the number of incidents. Not all refugees are criminals, most are people who like to develop themselves just like we do. We have to spread that view.

The thing is, we have faced a crisis, there already is a large rate of unemployment. If we let the refugees in and give them the opportunity to work, there is less space for our own citizens to work, which causes an even bigger unemployment rate. If we do not let the refugees work we will have to pay for them, not directly but in terms of Tax.  We will, either way, be confronted by the fact that the asylum seekers command an amount of money.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”

What if I say that letting the refugees work will cause more job opportunities? Not all refugees are uneducated labourers, they also have the minds to start their own company, which creates more job opportunities. Of course, this will take several years to develop, and maybe some investment too. The problem is that, if we go on with giving the refugees various resources, no development will take place. By getting them to work we will not only grow economically but we will also involve refugees in society.

We have to integrate the refugees in society, this may reduce crimes and will develop the Netherlands as a “multicultural society”. Let’s not treat refugees like animals, rescued from traps, wandering through our society aimlessly. Let’s treat them like people, how it’s supposed to be.

(Made by Amber Aerts)


Online privacy invasion

Last Monday, a program called “De Grote Privacy Test” (the big privacy test) was broadcasted on Dutch television ( The program researches if the participants and the people at home know the risks of the invasion of privacy and online criminality. It reveals a lot about how much information is gathered about you and what is done with it. This is a big social problem. The producers want as much information as they can from the people who use their products so they can use it for their own purposes (and services). The users, of course, want to use the product but definitely don’t want an invasion of privacy!

It all starts when you buy or download a product: The Terms and Conditions. The never-ending list of vague text that everyone accepts without even looking at it. The Producers know this. It enables them to do almost everything, the customers will always agree because they don’t want to read the long lists. It enables them to use your camera, microphone, see all of your unprotected information and sometimes even download things! This brings insecurity and invasion of privacy.

The terms and conditions of iTunes are as long as the book: “Je hebt wél iets te verbergen” which has 264 pages!

Besides checking boxes and agreeing with terms and conditions, there are several other ways in which information from electronic devices can be ‘stolen’. For example: in the program “De Grote Privacy Test” a hacker, called Wouter Slotboom, showed a router he had bought. Everyone who connected to the WI-FI of this router got tracked and all the information gathered and used in those devices was from then available for him. He could see Instagram pictures, chats, web searches and even passwords!

The invention of social media worsened the situation enormously. A lot of things are shared and so, a lot of things can be found. Even things you delete can be copied or recovered.

The information that sites, apps, programs and other services or products gather can be used for advertisement, recommendations, predicting things and more. This sounds great, but when google tells me the traffic information on my route to school while I never searched for it, I get scared. How does it know that? What more does it know? I can’t tell this exactly, but it is sure that services like google know more than they probably should. All of this information could easily be misused. Think of this: someone has seen your information. He or she knows what phone you have and wants it. He knows when and how you drive to school in the morning. Easy catch, I would say.

I know you probably aren’t going to read the terms and conditions and you probably aren’t going to disagree with them either. So here 4 simple things that you can do to prevent some of these privacy invasions.

  • Using ad Blocker: Besides stopping ads from popping up on your screen, it also stops a lot of cookies and unwanted trackers from gathering and using your information.
  • When you use Google Chrome, you can enable ‘Incognito modus’. This will erase everything you do on the internet when you don’t use it anymore. This does not include photos, comments or other similar things you post but things like cookies, browsing history etc.
  • Watch out with what you do on the internet: be cautious with what you write, post and do online. Also: have a look at your privacy settings on your browser and social media.
  • Try searching safe alternatives for your social media. For example, Signal. It does the same as WhatsApp but it is privacy friendlier. Why leave WhatsApp? Well, it was bought by Facebook, which means that a lot of information can be used, just as on Facebook. (related article: “Facebook sued for invading users’ privacy” at

In conclusion, the internet knows a lot about you. Often too much. The upcoming of social media has greatly reduced privacy and your information is easily being misused or even being hacked! Terms and conditions are too long and are often misapplicated. They include all kinds of ways in which to collect personal data. This data is used or sold to other companies while it isn’t necessary for the service to work. In the 21st century, privacy seems to have disappeared. But we have to protect it, since it is not only a constitutional right but also a very big factor in our lives.

Author: Rick van de Sande