Police should have more powers to hack into computers: minister

The police should be given greater powers to hack into private computers in their efforts to combat cyber crime, according to a concept briefing for parliament by justice minister Ivo Opstelten.

In the briefing, obtained by website nu.nl, Opstelten writes that computer-based crime is increasing and ‘the expertise, capacity and experience within the criminal justice system has not improved accordingly’.
In addition, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find out where digital information is being stored because of the rise of cloud computing, mobile phones and tablets, he said.
Opstelten wants to give police the right to hack into computers to install software which can be used, for example, to unscramble information. He also says it should be possible for the police to break into computers to wipe information or make it inaccessible.
This is already the case in child pornography investigations, nu.nl says.
Last year, Opstelten confirmed eavesdropping software that can be installed from a distance on the computers of suspects has been used in criminal investigations in the Netherlands.
Eavesdropping is only allowed when very serious crimes have been committed where suspects are in temporary custody, the public prosecution department said at the time.
The Netherlands sanctions more phone taps per head of population than any other country in the world.
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