Sunday 23 January 2022

Advisors criticise minister on plan to let police hack computers

Plans by justice minister Ivo Opstelten to give the police greater powers to hack into private computers and install spyware have been criticised by some of his own advisors.

In October it emerged Opstelten believes the police should be given greater powers to hack into private computers in their efforts to combat cyber crime.
Opstelten wants to give police the right to hack into computers to install software which can be used, for example, to unscramble information. He also says it should be possible for the police to break into computers to wipe information or make it inaccessible.
However, Nijmegen university professor Bart Jacobs, who is a member of Opstelten’s Cyber Security Council, says the approach will fail because it will alienate supportive hackers.
‘Preventing child porn is used as an argument to introduce the most absurd measures… as happened 10 years ago with terrorism.’ Jacobs said in an interview with the NRC.
‘The minister will pressure the much-needed alliance with the hacking community by following hackers with principles. The cyber security policy threatens to flop. The minister is acting like a bull in a china shop.’
Another council member, Delft professor Michel van Eeten, has also warned the planned use of spyware by police will increase the chance of mistakes and manipulation. ‘Judges will have to believe evidence, because it will be impossible to establish if it has been manipulated,’ he said.
MPs are due to debate Opstelten’s plans later on Thursday.
Earlier stories
Police should have more powers to hack into computers: minister

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