Corrupt officials can secretly leak data to criminals
The Public Prosecution Service (OM) has found that many government services insufficiently record who requests what information. This can lead to corrupt officials going unnoticed when they leak important information to criminals, according to RTL Nieuws.
The Team Approach to Corruption (TAC) made this discovery in 2020, after encrypted communication services like Ennetcom and Encrochat were cracked. The millions of messages included evidence that officials had leaked information to organized crime, according to RTL Nieuws.
Nine police officers, two tax officials, a Royal Netherlands Marechaussee employee, a municipal official and a road traffic service employee were arrested following the investigation. The OM found that only the police keep track of who looks up what data.
"What is certain is if there is better logging, the criminal investigation will run more smoothly and better," Frans de Neree, press prosecutor, told RTL Nieuws. "Officials will [also] be less inclined to share information."
Tariq S. of Barendrecht was one of the suspects the police tracked down via the Encrochat messages. As a customs officer in training, he searched for information about cargo in the customs system while he was involved in transporting 1,000 kilograms of cocaine to the port of Rotterdam.
In fact, much of the leaked government information pertained to the port of Rotterdam, according to RTL Nieuws. Criminals smuggling illegal substances have use for information about customs controls, for example.
But keeping a lot of who accesses what data can be complicated, said Willem Loman, digital forensic researcher at Hoffmann Bedrijfsrecherche. "It's not that we check a box tomorrow and that's it," Loman said. "Systems have to be migrated or new systems have to be created. So it does take a bit more effort than just adjusting some simple configurations."