Tijdschrift voor Veiligheid

Article

De digitale schandpaal: opsporingsberichtgeving in een gedigitaliseerde samenleving

Trefwoorden DIY-policing, online policing, wanted notices, right to privacy, procedural defect
Auteurs Gabry Vanderveen en Mojan Samadi
Auteursinformatie

326232 Gabry Vanderveen
Gabry N.G. Vanderveen is als universitair docent verbonden aan de sectie Criminologie, Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam. Email: vanderveen@law.eur.nl.

326235 Mojan Samadi
Mojan Samadi is als promovendus straf(proces)recht verbonden aan het Instituut voor Strafrecht & Criminologie van de Universiteit Leiden. Email: m.samadi@law.leidenuniv.nl.
  • Samenvatting

      In the context of criminal investigations police and prosecution can appeal to the public for information to further their case. This decision cannot be taken lightly and requires a balancing exercise between the rights of the suspect (and other people involved), specifically the right to privacy, the interest of criminal investigations, such as the identification of the suspect or witnesses, and public pressure to fight crime.
      In the current digital society, the prosecutor can choose between a wide range of (new) media and modes of communication to ask for information. Next to wanted notices on paper posters and broadcasts on television, appeals for information are published on websites, social media platforms, apps and digital screens. Citizens can modify and share these appeals and they can comment on them. This necessitates careful consideration by the prosecutor on whether and how to appeal for information. After all, these appeals could lead to DIY-policing or online vigilantism (digilantism), leading to infringements on the right to privacy and even possibly to misidentification of suspects.
      This article contributes to the continuing debate. We describe the legal framework the prosecution has to take into account in such cases. The importance of a considered decision is illustrated by three cases in which judicial authorities appealed to the public for help in the criminal investigations, resulting in massive (media) attention and consequently affecting the eventual criminal case against the defendants. In two of these cases the prosecutorial decision to involve the public’s help resulted in a violation of the defendants’ rights to privacy and consequently had to be remedied by the court. Both cases led to social, legal and political debate about the balance between privacy and crime control.

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