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Belgian police rebuked over Tomorrowland screening

The Commission for the Protection of Privacy (CPP) – a Belgian public body tasked with protecting individuals against misuse of their personal data – has criticised police and local authorities for cancelling several Tomorrowland tickets after buyers’ details were checked against a national police database.

CPP says it has received a “number of complaints” from the 38 people who have been denied access to the 180,00-cap. EDM festival, which takes place next weekend, for “security reasons”.

The decision to screen ticketholders against the Federal National Database (BNG) – which holds details of every Belgian charged with a crime, even if they are later acquitted, for up to 15 years – would have been taken by the mayors of the towns of Rumst and Boom, says CPP, which has now launched an investigation into the legality of the checks.

“We deplore the fact we were not consulted to examine the lawfulness of this preventative measure”

“The Privacy Commission has in no way been involved in this preventive measure, which is problematic in several respects,” says the body in a statement. “CPP deplores the fact that it was not consulted beforehand to examine the lawfulness of this preventive control.”

Peter De Waele, a spokesman for the Belgian federal police, says the move requires only the “permission of the mayors of Boom and Rumst, which we have. Both communities voted for the regulations.”

He tells Flemish paper De Standaard that the screenings against the BNG are a kind of digital equivalent of installing physical security barriers at the festival. “We have for a long time had concrete blocks placed at major events,” he says. “As we have seen [with Tomorrowland], we can now also create digital ‘concrete blocks’.”


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