Belgian police doubles wiretapping

By EDRi · June 15, 2005

The Belgian police has doubled the number of judicial telephone wiretaps in 2004. From 1.336 intercepts in 2003, they went to 2.562 intercepts in 2004. In 2002, the number was below 900. In Belgium, an intercept law was adopted in 1994 that allowed for telephony wiretaps, if authorised by an investigating magistrate and for a limited number of crimes.

The Belgian newspaper De Tijd writes the rise in the number of intercepts is probably due to the greater technical ease since the creation of the Central Technical Interception Facility (CTIF). Also, previously the law demanded that each intercept had to be fully typed out, costing approximately 12 man-hours per hour of intercept. A wiretapping order in Belgium is valid for 6 months, but the police have to report to the investigating magistrate every 5 days.

Previously, EDRI-gram reported about a similar high increase in the number of intercepts in Italy, and a legal comparison between wiretapping practices in many different European countries and the US. With 10.5 million inhabitants Belgium allows for 24.4 intercepts per 100.000 inhabitants. The chart is topped by Italy with 172 judicial intercepts in 2004 per 100.000 inhabitants.

Federale politie luistert recordaantal telefoons af (in Dutch, access for subscribers, 13.06.2005)

EDRI-gram: Italian GSM provider warns: too many wiretaps (24.02.2005)

EDRI-gram: Italy and the Netherlands top wiretap chart (15.06.2004)