Are Belgium's civil servants nosy parkers?

Belgium's privacy watchdog, the Privacy Commission, has received some 100 complaints about civil servants accused of violating people's right to privacy. The civil servants, often police officers, stand accused of consulting the state register that contains personal data on all citizens, without a proper reason to do so.

Willem Debeuckelaere, the President of the Privacy Commission, has established that some civil servants are consulting citizens’ personal data in the state register out of "pure curiosity".

"One day there was a game on the radio and you had to guess the age of a celebrity. We noticed enormous traffic on the state register with people who have legitimate access for professional purposes accessing state register information. Sometimes civil servants are responding to requests for information from third parties."

"Each and every Belgian can ask to see who has accessed his or her state register information during the past six months. Sometimes we notice requests for information from municipalities or organisations and we can't understand why."