HRIF.EU Urges DNB to Halt Collective ‘Transactie Monitoring Nederland’ Now!

HRIF.EU is urging DNB to halt Transactie Monitoring Nederland immediately. This call to DNB – the Dutch Central Bank – stems from its role as the enforcer of anti-money laundering rules for banks and obliged institions in the Netherlands.

The call comes in the wake of the Report published by the parliamentary inquiry committee on Fraud Prevention and Services. The committee concluded in its final report on fraud prevention by/on behalf of the Dutch government: ‘State powers were blind to humanity and justice.’

The main conclusion of the Fraud Prevention and Service Inquiry Committee in its report Blind to Humanity and Justice is a harsh one:

In a hardened political and societal climate, the three branches of government have been blind to humanity and justice. The cabinet and parliament have failed, the implementation has acted unlawfully, and the judiciary has failed to provide protection to people. Human rights have been violated, and the rule of law has been sidelined.

The report criticizes the patterns leading to systematic violations of human rights in Dutch society. And it warns: this could happen again. Or, as we see at Human Rights in Finance (EU): it has been happening on other fronts for much longer, and just as significantly and massively.

Violations of human rights are also occurring in the banking sector

Human Rights in Finance (EU) recognizes many of the observations in the parliamentary inquiry committee’s report. We see that fraud prevention has also lead regulated bank institutions to be legally obliged to participate in what Privacy First calls the ‘informant society’ or the ‘telltale society’. Monitoring transactions and asking very intrusive personal questions result in various infringements of human rights.

Those wanting to understand the specifics (and that can understand Dutch.. sorry !) can listen to the conversation with our chairman in this BNR podcast. He explains the rules and how the foundation hopes to motivate all stakeholders in the financial sector and society with inspiring examples to do the right thing and protect human rights. When such call for action does not lead to significant change and the human rights infringements continue. procedural steps come into play.

Enforcement request for supervisor DNB to immediately halt human rights violations

Our calls for the right to a bank account and to stop excessive monitoring are not reaching the banks board rooms. That is: they are reaching the board rooms, but there is no sensible reply that creates a pathway to an end of human rights violations. So HRIF.EU is now forced to use legal angles to put an end to the massive human rights violations at play. That route is requesting supervisory authorities to act and enforce the anti-money laundering law against all 5 banks (and the bankers association NVB) that set up the collective transaction monitoring entity. We sent in our request by the end of February 2024.

In the Netherlands, the outsourcing of transaction monitoring by five major banks to Transactie Monitoring Nederland is prohibited as a violation of Article 10 of the anti-money laundering law. See the description in the Guidance of the financial supervisor DNB.

No legalisation of this illegal activity on the horizon

Now in 2020 there was the idea to quickly correct the prohibition by putting a law in place. Right now, we are 4 years ahead, with a lot of fierce debate on the mass surveillance nature of this and the law will not come. EU regulation now writes different rules that will come into play in 2027 and those do not allow for a similar wide setup as we have in the Netherlands now.

That’s also why we drew the conclusion that continuation of illegal dataprocessing at TMNL must cease immediately. Some 4 billion transactions per year are part of a mass surveillance mechanism in which 5 banks pool all their transaction data and see what they can find that is somehow unusual. It’s a massive violation of article 10 (and inherently a GRPD-violation due to lack of legal basis as required under article 6). To enforce efficiently, we asked DNB to put an immediate end to this, as they are known to act swift and decisive in such matters.

To assist DNB in swiftly ending human rights violations, we submitted a targeted and heavily documented request. Because every day that transaction monitoring of suspicious transactions is outsourced to Transactie Monitoring Nederland is one too many. Every day, the human rights of every person/company scrutinized in the transaction database are violated.

Process as we started it

After the petition for the right to a bank account and the cessation of excessive monitoring, we informed the Second Chamber on our consultation response on the legal right to a bank account and cash. In the letter (download here), you can see how HRIF.EU urged DNB to act promptly. But that was already a month ago !

Our goal is for the prohibited outsourcing of transaction processing at TMNL to stop as soon as possible. While supervisors have a ‘maxium period’ of up to 8 weeks to decide, it can and should be much faster. In our view 4 weeks should have been enough and is the reasonable period. After all, human rights are being violated every day. So, we will keep pressing.

Process update: appeal pending in Rotterdam Court

However, DNB isn’t too keen on taking up this enforcement action. Last week it reverted into the oldest trick in the book: denying standing to our foundation in order to delay the legal process. Yet, in doing so it confirms it doesn’t comply with the UN resolution on Human Rights Defenders which clearly outlines anyone has the human right to defend human rights, in whichever nature (as a natural person or a legal person). You can read more about that in our mini-course on human rights here.

Consequently HRIF.EU took DNB to court last week (april 14, 2024) in order to ask the judge to order DNB to make a swift decision (and allow standing and thus start enforcing). This will be same Court in Rotterdam that previously disallowed DNB doing the same to another organisation that represented collective interests and ideals in a specific domain. DNB then had to move and act, but it also took the Court decision to a higher court, the College voor Beroep van Bedrijfsleven, which then also ruled that the collective organisation had standing.

So it’s a bit of paper-shoving happening now, which is a bad thing as every two days 22 million records are filtered, looked at, combined and profiled and such. Needless to explain that HRIF.EU has now formally held DNB responsible for the transgressions and in a generic sense is holding it liable for all damages incurred. Under the Human Rights Defenders Resolution of the UN, DNB – as a body of the state – must not fail to act.


This BNR news-item of end of February explains where banks go wrong legally. Next up this BNR-podcast outlines that apart from all our policy work, this enforcement action by the Foundation will be followed by additional steps. This includes enforcement requests to the Authority for Consumers and Markets and the Dutch Data Protection Authority. But this is all work in progress, and we will keep you informed through this website.

If you’re thinking: good job, can I support the foundation?

Yes, you can: you can help us by sharing your experiences via the email address at the bottom of the page. But you can also contribute financially, and below you’ll find our account number. We may also in the next week set up specific crowd-funding to pay the lawyers for this DNB-enforcement-case.