Minister to clamp down on computer crime, sanction Skype taps

New legislation will make it possible for police and justice ministry officials to hack into suspects’ computers even if the server is abroad, and tap into Skype conversations, according to various media reports on Thursday.

Nos television says justice minister Ivo Opstelten has drawn up a draft bill to tackle computer-related crimes because current rules are outdated. The bill has been sent to the public prosecution department and legal experts for their opinion.

Opstelten says the new rules will allow officials to better combat ‘botnets’ – networks of computers which have been taken over by crooks and used to bombard systems with information, spread viruses or steal inlog details.


Dutch banks and other institutions have been plagued by a recent spate of DDoS attacks, in which botnets are used to blast them with information, effectively putting their websites out of action.

The new rules would give police investigators the right to access servers to disable botnets. This option could only be used under strict conditions and would have to be approved first by a judge, the minister said.

If passed, the legislation would also force people suspected of terrorist or child pornography offences to hand over their passwords and encryption details or face up to three years in jail, the Telegraaf said. It would also give police the right to listen in to Skype and other VOIP conversations.

Opstelten also plans to make to make it a criminal offence to ‘buy’ stolen computer information, Nos says.

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