'America may have access to Dutch digital patient records'

A scary headline if you’re Dutch, I bet. DutchNews.nl reports:

The American authorities may have access to information stored in the new Dutch digital patient record system because it is being built by a US firm, Nos television reports.

The system is being developed for the Dutch government by CSC, an American company with operations in the Netherlands.

Legal experts at Amsterdam University warn that the American authorities may be able to claim access because of the Patriot Act.

This makes it possible to force an American company to hand over information it is managing,’ researcher Joris van Hoboken said. ‘This applies even if the company has a Dutch arm and the computers are in the Netherlands.’

I have no idea why our government would want Dutch patients’ records, but if this really is a possibility, it would, indeed, be cause for concern.  And does this risk exist for  any contract with any American firm? If so, why is this first coming up as a concern now?  The news site continues:

The director of VZVZ, the organisation setting up the system, told Nos television he would withdraw the contract unless the company gives assurances it is not covered by the Patriot Act. ‘We want a guarantee,’ Edwin Velzel said.

I wonder if any American firm can actually give that guarantee. I would think not, but again, I am not a lawyer.

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