Security services broke phone tap rules on lawyers, journalists

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The Dutch security services AIVD and MIVD broke the rules on phone tapping several times when they listened in to both journalists and lawyers without prior approval, according to the official regulator.

The AIVD wrongly recorded and wrote up three phone calls involving lawyers without first clearing the taps with officials. In addition, the transcripts do not show any implications for national security, which would have legitimized the taps, the CTIVD said in its annual report.

In turn, the MIVD transcribed an interview between a suspect and foreign lawyer even though there were no national security implications in their conversation.




Security service officials also tapped someone’s communications for a period of six months in an effort to find out which journalist he was talking to. It is not clear if this is illegal and jurisprudence is still being developed in this field, the CTIVD said.

The watchdog says journalists should be covered by the same legislation as lawyers, which means that taps need to have prior approval.

Home affairs minister Ronald Plasterk and defence minister Jeanine Hennis say they have no plans to include the extra check, the Volkskrant reported. New legislation on phone and internet taps which is awaiting approval in the senate does not include such additional safeguards against abuse.