Sunday 17 October 2021

MPs want assurances over wider powers for security services

Protection concept: computer keyboard with Closed PadlockMPs wants guarantees from the government that the decision to give the security services wider powers to tap phones and internet traffic will not be abused, website reports on Tuesday.

Home affairs minister Ronald Plasterk and defence minister Jeanine Hennis are due to present their draft legislation for expanding the security services’ intelligence-gathering powers shortly. questioned various party representatives about their position.

Socialist Party MP Ronald van Raak said the security services could only be given more powers if the influence of US and British secret services was removed. Plasterk, he pointed out, has been unable to say whether Dutch journalists are being spied on by the British security service GCHQ.

In addition, ‘the way the NSA has behaved has destroyed trust in the Americans,’ he said. ‘Our security service regulator has also spoken about the breach of trust. Plasterk said he would do something about it, but I have heard nothing.’

Labour MP Jeroen Recourt also said he wondered what Plasterk and Hennis have done to heal the breach with the Americans. ‘I do not want a government with a big net that fishes up everything it possibly can,’ he said.


‘We don’t want any expansion of powers without better control,’ D66 parliamentarian Gerard Schouw told ‘Big mistakes have been made in the past. Information has been gleaned outside the law and the ministry was generous in giving permission.’

VVD spokesman Klaas Dijkhoff said the legislation should not include such tight privacy rules as to make it impossible for the security services to do their jobs. Dijkhoff brushed off fears that the Netherlands would mine too widely for information. ‘No country in the world is more careful about intelligence,’ he said.

MPs are due to debate the security services on Tuesday afternoon. Ministers want to overhaul the options the security services have to listen in on private conversations to keep up-to-date with technological changes and the switch from landlines to mobile phones and social media.

Thank you for donating to

The team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments. has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.