Police tapped 26,000 phones last year

The justice ministry authorised taps on 26,425 telephones last year, justice minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin told MPs on Wednesday evening.

The figure does not include the number of taps operated by the security services, which is considered to be a state secret.
The Netherlands sanctions more phone taps per head of population than any other country in the world. For example, US officials sanctioned just 2,208 phone taps last year and the UK 1,881. And although France and Germany agreed to more taps, their populations are also far larger.
Hirsch Ballin told MPs no conclusions could be drawn about phone tapping because of the different legal systems involved. But there are enough safeguards to make sure taps are used properly in the Netherlands, he said.
Unlike in many countries, the Netherlands allows the police to record all conversations made by crime suspects, including calls to their lawyers. Several court cases have come unstuck in recent years because officials have failed to destroy recordings of such conversations as they are supposed to by law.
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