Proposed law allows massive data mining by intelligence agencies

A new legislative proposal gives the Netherlands' intelligence and security services the ability for eaves dropping on cellphone and internet traffic on a large-scale. But only if an as-yet-to-be-establishments independent committee gives them permission, NRC reports.

Currently the Dutch intelligence services AIVD and MIVD are only allowed to do targeted searches on internet and mobile phone traffic. As most of today's communications happen over the cellphone or internet, the services have been demanding more capabilities for some time.

The first version of this legislative proposal was submitted in the summer last year. The main change on the bill is who the security services will need to ask permission before starting their data mining. In the first version, the existing supervisory committee could make an objection to certain activities. Now the services responsible minister as well as a new, specifically set up, committee will have to give permission. If the services want to eavesdrop on a journalist or lawyer, the court in the Hague must give the green light first.

This proposed law, drafted by Ministers Ronald Plasterk of Home Affairs and Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert of Defense, was approved by the council of ministers on Friday. Next it will go through the Council of State for advice and then it will be handled by Parliament and the Senate.