Privacy
and ICT

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident

Schopenhauer

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Society has turned to a large extent dependent on information and communications technology. In large numbers we make our way to the cloud. Life without appliances and without social networks in our pockets has become nearly unthinkable. How did we actually manage in the old days? Institutes and businesses too show a high IT computer and software rate. Take for instance the introduction of DigiD, the coming Bouwpas [building pass], or the public transport chip card, which all can get to the bottom of our digital identities by one single scan.

The Netherlands have done well in the information technology. More than 54,000 IT businesses exist and roughly a quarter million people are at work in the branch by now, among which a large group of self-employed workers without employees and independent occupations. The annual turnover amounts to about twenty-five thousand million euros. In the years to come the demand for IT specialists will even further increase. As a software producer the Netherlands take fourth position in the EU. In particular the demand for cloud computing (shared software and infrastructure) the Dutch businesses take good advantage of this need over the past few years. Yet also new applications of hardware like the 3D printer are in the making.

The information and communications technology makes modern life pleasant and quick, however, makes us unprecedentedly vulnerable from the legal viewpoint too: at the very moment when we do not properly control technology, but technology will control us. That we will find out soon enough when failures appear, in the case of cyber crime, espionage, or when our casually posted confidential personal particulars will be used just like that for advertising purposes. This vulnerability involves new questions in the field of intellectual property and protection of privacy. It is no coincidence that our firm employs three lawyers who dedicate themselves almost fulltime to this subject.

An other peculiarity of the IT branch is that it is extremely dynamic. This appears for instance from the variety of businesses which very much differ in respect of nature (software, hardware, or IT services) and organizational structure. The one typical IT business does simply not exist. This may be very well reason that – except for the ten percent of the IT specialists in the manufacturing industry– no major IT industry organization exists, as little as a regular collective labour agreement. As far as terms and conditions of employment are concerned IT businesses sooner prefer their own regulations, without emphasizing the number of years of service, yet the performance of the employees. Human resources policy aims at versatility and flexibility of personnel, but also at schooling, and at taking on young talents who have to create continuous innovations for the branch. The fact is that the demand for Information Technology is ever so knowledge-intensive and therefore susceptible to changes to such a degree that IT businesses have to revamp over and over again and restructure at the same time.

Exactly owing to this flexibility out of necessity we -being the experts in the field of flexible labour- will advise different IT service businesses on well-considered personnel structures.

Certainly now when more and more companies and organisations have shut down their own IT department due to too high costs and knowledge that dates too fast, and hire this externally.

De Koning Vergouwen acts on behalf of Detron and Dutch Digital Agencies among others, an industry association and knowledge organization for the best digital bureaus.

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