Profiling ‘anomalies’ and the anomalies of profiling: Digitalized risk assessments of Dutch youth and the new European data protection regime

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


A key component of the proposed data protection rules outlined in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR ) is that any measures based solely on automated data processing that have legal effects on ‘natural persons’, including children, count as ‘profiling ’. Currently, the digitalized profiling of children in Dutch child-care policies has gradually gained prominence in efforts to detect or prevent child abuse and anti-social or delinquent behaviour. This chapter analyses how the proposed data protection rules will impact the current practices of profiling children and creating individualized risk assessments in the Netherlands. To illustrate the problems raised by such profiling, this paper analyses the professional use of three profiling registries: the Dutch Digital Youth Healthcare Registry , the Reference Index of High-Risk Youth , and the ProKid SI 12-system. Investigating the negative implications of the use of these and determining how these implications can be addressed by legal means is crucial to striking a proper balance between the interests of society, privacy and data protection, and individual children and families. Although each registry is meant to prevent problems and serve the ‘best interests’ of children and society, their use produces new risks, including the possibility for erroneous criminal prognosis, stigmatization, and discrimination. By drawing upon empirical data and legal analysis, this paper argues that the use of these technologies by authorities and healthcare providers in the Netherlands will challenge new data protection provisions and that it is therefore necessary to reframe the data protection regime to better protect “the best interest of the child” as established by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnder observation
Subtitle of host publicationThe Interplay Between eHealth and Surveillance
EditorsS. Adams, N. Purtova, R. Leenes
Place of PublicationDen Haag
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-48342-9
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-48340-5
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameLaw, Governance and Technology Series


  • Risk profile
  • Data protection
  • data subject
  • Government
  • Youth care


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