Ministers press ahead with controversial internet tap plan

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The cabinet is pressing ahead with controversial legislation to give the security service much wider powers to tap phones and internet traffic, despite opposition from the Council of State.

The Council of State, which is the government’s most senior advisory body, said that the legislation should not be submitted to parliament in its present form.

Currently the security services are only allowed to tap into satellite communications and specific internet connections and ministers argue that they must have wider access to internet traffic to monitor terrorists more effectively.




The new legislation will, for example, make it possible to tap all the communications between the Netherlands and another country and to collect all local traffic conducted via a particular app.

Ministers plan to set up a special committee to make sure that the security services are not breaking the law and which must give the green light to taps before they are put in place.

The Council of State, however, has objections to the approval process and says the three year limit for keeping information obtained via taps is too long.

Criticism

British privacy watchdog Privacy International has already described the proposals as among the most far-reaching in the world and says they will provide a poor example for companies without strong democratic traditions.

‘We would strongly urge the Dutch government not to expand surveillance beyond what is necessary and reasonable in a democratic society,’ the organisation said last year.