Dutch intelligence busted for data mining, illegal wiretaps

Plasterk_Dutch_politician_kabinet_Balkenende_IV
. Minister Ronald Plasterk - Kingdom Relations (Source: Wikimedia Commons/Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst)

Between September 2012 and August 2013 the General Intelligence and Security Service (GISS/AIVD) illegally eavesdropped on people. In that period the number of wiretap operations increased by 11 percent compared to the previous year.

This is written in a report done by the Commission for Supervision on Intelligence- and Security services (CTIVD).

The CTIVD wants to reveal how many people were wiretapped by the GISS, but Minister Plasterk stopped this. According to Plasterk the numbers say something about how the GISS works and is therefore a state secret.

In seven cases the GISS monitored illegal satellite communications, including specific email addresses or phone numbers. In two cases the service was careless. That specific information was extracted from a "bulk" intercepted communication. In total there were thousands of taps.

For example, the GISS eavesdropped on someone because that person had contact with a person who the GISS was investigating. The nature of the contact was not investigated and there was no relevant evidence to eavesdrop on the person. The CTIVD concludes that the GISS should use resources in their investigations that will reduce the invasion of privacy.

In four cases the GISS wiretapped people illegally and in two cases they acted carelessly during wiretap operations. For example they eavesdropped on "nondisclosure" conversations; people that must be able to talk in confidence such as doctors and lawyers.

The GISS also wrongly identified a group of people as an organization. If there is an organization, the GISS does not need to get special permission from the Minister to eavesdrop on each member.

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