Netherlands: New proposals for dragnet surveillance underway
In the Netherlands, online consultations by the government have been concluded on far-reaching proposals that foresee the expansion of surveillance powers of the intelligence services and the creation of new surveillance powers for the tax authorities (“Wet op de inlichtingen- en veiligheidsdiensten” and “Concept-Besluit Bijzondere vergaring nummergegevens telecommunicatie”). If proposed and enacted into law, they will severely threaten fundamental rights to privacy, freedom of assembly and association, as well as the right to fair trial, religion and free speech.
A few proposals from each draft law:
- Intelligence services will be authorised to, using a technical aid, wiretap, receive, record and listen to any form of telecommunications or data transfer via a computerised system.
- Intelligence services can compel anyone to help decrypt data, conversations, telecommunications or data transfers.
- Dragnet surveillance of all telecommunications as well as wholesale gathering of metadata, including location data, will be introduced.
- The intelligence services will be granted the ability to break into computers of third parties, including non-suspects, to be able to monitor actual targets, without safeguards for fundamental rights or even acknowledging the potential for collateral damage.
- The draft laws lack almost completely the safeguards to preserve client-attorney privilege, medical confidentiality etc.
Given that intelligence services have the purpose of preserving the rule of law in a democratic society, the draft proposal is more of an acute threat to the Netherlands than any terrorist threat.
In the case of the draft proposal for the tax authorities, the consultation on the tax law was about granting the special law enforcement units the authority to buy their own equipment, rather than having to rely on the IMSI-catchers and personnel of the Dutch police forces. While tax evasion is harmful, the ends justify the means even less than in the case of the expansion of intelligence powers.
The consultation on the bill for a new Intelligence and Security Services Act (only in Dutch, consultation ended on 01.09.2015)
Bits of Freedom, response to the consultation on the bill for a new Intelligence and Security Services Act (only in Dutch, 01.09.2015)
The consultation on the bill to grant the Fiscal Information and Investigation Service the authority to use (their own) IMSI-catchers (only in Dutch, consultation ended on 18.09.2015)
Bits of Freedom, response to the consultation on the bill to grant the Fiscal Information and Investigation Service the authority to use (their own) IMSI-catchers (only in Dutch, 14.09.2015)
Dutch intel bill proposes non-specific (“bulk”) interception powers for “any form of telecom or data transfer”, incl. domestic, plus required cooperation from “providers of communication services” (02.07.2015)
Vrijscrhift’s response to the online consultation Wet op de inlichtingen- en veiligheidsdiensten:
Privacy International’s response to the online consultation Wet op de inlichtingen- en veiligheidsdiensten:
Amnesty International’s response to the online consultation Wet op de inlichtingen- en veiligheidsdiensten:
(Contribution by Walter van Holst, EDRi member Vrijschrift, Netherlands)