The Dutch security services have broken the law in intercepting telephone and internet traffic but there is no evidence of massive phone tapping operations like those of America’s NSA, according to a new report.
The security services regulator CTIVD said security service agents do sometimes set taps without permission from the minister as required by law. They also hack into accounts without asking for permission.
For example, website forums have been hacked and the privacy of visitors has been invaded, the CTIVD said. This is only allowed in law in cases of ‘heavyweight operational interests’. The organisation is carrying out further research to assess if the hacking was in accordance with the law.
CTIVD chairman Harm Brouwer told reporters that in general, the organisations keep within the law. However, the law does need changing to reflect technological advances and to ensure it continues to protect people’s privacy, he said.
MPs are divided in their reaction. The ruling VVD concludes there is nothing systematically wrong with the way the security services operate. However, D66 says the report has revealed a ‘table full of injustices’.
The cabinet said in a reaction that the report shows that legislation on intercepting email and phone traffic is in need of modernisation and some procedures need modifying.