Police security information services have been illegally monitoring “entire population groups” and this is not allowed by law, the security service watchdog CTIVD said on Thursday.
Each of the 10 regional police forces, the national force, the border police, and financial crime unit have their own surveillance team. These 14 teams work together with the national AIVD security service and gather information on people who could pose a risk to national security.
However, the CTIVD said in its latest report, that these police teams sometimes use a report about one or a small group of people to switch to monitoring an entire community, without considering if this is a proportionate response.
Between February 23 and July 1, 2022, complete communities were illegally monitored three times, the CTIVD said, without going into details or saying which units were involved.
A community could, for example, be based on “ethnicity, religious conviction, or a profession”, the agency said. That would clear the way for the entire congregation of a mosque or a group of radical farmers to be kept under surveillance.
Home affairs minister Hugo de Jonge, who is responsible for the police, told broadcaster NOS in a reaction that there need to be improvements in the way such surveillance is justified. “But I would like to emphasise that there was a threat in all these cases,” he said.
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