Dutch intelligence services placed 3,553 taps last year

AIVD office in Zoetermeer
. AIVD office in Zoetermeer

The Dutch intelligence services placed 3,553 taps to eavesdrop on people and organizations last year, Ministers Kasja Ollongren of Home Affairs and Ank Bijleveld of Defense reported to parliament on Wednesday. This is the first time that the services' tap statistics are made public, NU.nl reports.

General intelligence and security service AIVD placed the majority of the taps, 3,205. Its military counterpart MIVD placed 348. This includes placing taps on telephone traffic, internet traffic, and placing microphones. The number of taps is higher than the number of investigations, because tapped persons or organizations may be tapped on multiple devices and in different ways. 

Over the past years the number of taps increased significantly. In 2002 the AIVD placed 559 taps, increasing to 1,324 in 2006. The 2 thousand mark was passed in 2012 and the 3 thousand mark in 2016. The MIVD placed 19 taps in 2004, over 100 in 2015 and 382 in 2016.

"The increased numbers must also be seen in the light of the increased threat in the field of counter-terrorism, cyber and the unstable geopolitical situation at the external borders of Europe", the Minsters wrote to the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, according to the newspaper. 

The AIVD and MIVD's tap statistics were kept secret up until now. After a request to publish them from organization Bits of Freedom, the Council of State ruled in December that there are insufficient reasons for why this information should remain secret. 

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