Dutch intelligence won't become America's NSA: MP

Ronald Plasterk
Ronald Plasterk, 27 August 2009.Photo: Wikimedia/Roel Wijnants.

VVD Parliamentarian Klaas Dijkhoff denounced the phantom images raised by opponents that large scale data trawls will soon be conducted in the Netherlands, just like the NSA does in the United states, NU. reports. "The fear exists and people like to call up that feeling, but there is not country in the world where information is dealt with more carefully." he said. But the Tweede Kamer (lower house of parliament) still wants guarantees that the expansion of the intelligence services' surveillance capabilities will not lead to NSA practices.

Minister Ronald Plasterk (Internal Affairs) and Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert (Defense) will soon come up with a legislative proposal to give the intelligence services more power to intercept telephone- and internet traffic.

PvdA MP Jeroen Recourt wonders what steps Plasterk and Hennis have taken to restore the confidence gap with the US Intelligence services, NU reports. He wants more clarity on how Plasterk plans to arrange the extension of the capabilities in the bill. "I do not want a government in which the government retrieves all kinds of data with large nets", he says.

According to Ronald van Raak (SP) the expansion of capabilities can only be discussed if the influence of the US and British intelligence services is removed. He points out that Plasterk recently could not rule out that the British intelligence service GCHQ bugged Dutch journalists. "What is the point of increasing the powers if we have no idea what the Americans and British are up to here?"

According to NU, the new proposal will make it possible to retrieve data with less direction than in the current situation. D66 MP Gerard Schouw therefore proposes that the judge and CTIVD run tests beforehand to determine whether a tapping may take place. "We do not want to increase the competences without better control", says Schouw.

The Tweede Kamer will debate about the intelligence services this afternoon.