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Dutch Government: Number of Internet Taps Has Quintupled In One Year

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the go-big-or-go-home dept.

Communications 49

vikingpower writes "A Dutch newspaper has a digital version of the letter Mr. Opstelten, Secretary of Justice and Security, sent to Dutch Parliament (PDF in Dutch), in which he quietly admits to 56,825 phone taps (a 3% rise in one year) and to 16,676 internet taps in 2012, a 400% rise, or a fivefold increase, in one year. An older report already exposed the Netherlands as one of the biggest wiretappers in the western world. Slate also knew, back in 2006, that Europeans actually love wiretapping and internet tapping. In the Netherlands, a country with a population of only 16 million, the practice has risen to the level of a staggering 1 in 1,000 phones being tapped."

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BUT THEN THEY ARE TOO STONED TO USE ANY OF IT !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44332695)

What does a stoner government do with anything for that matter !!

Re:BUT THEN THEY ARE TOO STONED TO USE ANY OF IT ! (1, Funny)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#44332859)

What does a stoner government do with anything for that matter !!

"Duuuuude... Citizen 432B61 just ordered some pizzas! We gotta legislate ourselves some of that action! But first, pass the ClogginBong this way..."

OK, so I admit I know precisely dick about Dutch government, but I can't resist an opportunity to make fun of stoners.

Re:BUT THEN THEY ARE TOO STONED TO USE ANY OF IT ! (-1, Flamebait)

1s44c (552956) | about a year ago | (#44332951)

What does a stoner government do with anything for that matter !!

"Duuuuude... Citizen 432B61 just ordered some pizzas! We gotta legislate ourselves some of that action! But first, pass the ClogginBong this way..."

OK, so I admit I know precisely dick about Dutch government, but I can't resist an opportunity to make fun of stoners.

As someone who has worked with Dutch people for years I can authoritatively tell you that you are pretty much spot on. They say they don't smoke weed but they always act like they have just smoked themselves stupid and there are weed shops everywhere.

Re:BUT THEN THEY ARE TOO STONED TO USE ANY OF IT ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44336255)

It's the mold that is also everywhere.

Re:BUT THEN THEY ARE TOO STONED TO USE ANY OF IT ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44336663)

Yes! I have lived and worked with the Dutch for years. At the bakery every other bread is loaded with Weed. It makes our space cakes taste like stale bread.

Re:BUT THEN THEY ARE TOO STONED TO USE ANY OF IT ! (1)

Caesar Tjalbo (1010523) | about a year ago | (#44333771)

We evolved our phone service into a public broadcasting system.

Geert wilders! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44332743)

Blame Geert Wilders!

Re:Geert wilders! (3, Interesting)

1s44c (552956) | about a year ago | (#44332963)

Blame Geert Wilders!

Blame one far-right candidate for the actions of the entire government? I don't think so, the problem is systemic.

Re:Geert wilders! (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | about a year ago | (#44333657)

Blame Geert Wilders!

Blame one far-right candidate for the actions of the entire government? I don't think so, the problem is systemic.

See, I would have gone with "the problem is chronic"...

Re:Geert wilders! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44340547)

Wild Greetings to you too!

Where is the Dutch equivalent of Snowden (1)

quarkie68 (1018634) | about a year ago | (#44332747)

Oh dear. In Europe, we are so advanced that we do not need people like Snowden to be heroes (the process of deciding to work for NSA directly or through contracting, thinking that you never go against people's privacy and one day you discover that is not the case and you go and leak info, wow!) and leak the info. Ministers do it instead! :-)

Re:Where is the Dutch equivalent of Snowden (1)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#44332815)

I'll take truth-telling officials over what we've got here in the the States. As best as I can tell, they've got 100% of the lines tapped and just aren't listening to them here.

Re:Where is the Dutch equivalent of Snowden (1)

quarkie68 (1018634) | about a year ago | (#44332915)

I'll take truth-telling officials over what we've got here in the the States. As best as I can tell, they've got 100% of the lines tapped and just aren't listening to them here.

Nahhh! If they had the tech to get 100% of the lines tapped AND listen to it, the US cash flow would be different. It's good to develop good DPI, lots of nice HPC tech is generated with the idea as the basis.

Re:Where is the Dutch equivalent of Snowden (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44332973)

FYI, I think the original comment refers to statements made by two old Prime Ministers that commented in a National Geographic Documentary about the Dutch Airforce and the possession of nuclear weapons in the Airbase Vokkel.

Which, really is a public secret, since most people know about it anyway since the 80's and our F-16's have a (non-standard)nuclear strike panel in the cockpit. It is reasoned this is influencing the decision to buy the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Which is now possibly causing a revolt in parlement, and comments have been made concerning a parliamentary inquiry to the acquisition of this aircraft. Even if this wouldnt be true then buying this aircraft would still prove difficult to the coalition, given that one of the two ruling party's always has been fervently opposed to this type.

Going back to the wiretapping, it also has been common knowledge that its a unhealthy ammount in The Netherlands, but for some reason it has never upset people enough, which quite frankly I find scary and saddening. Sometimes I feel that we are already further ahead on the slippery slope then some other les reputable countries(whatever that still means).

captcha: acceptor, how fitting..

Re:Where is the Dutch equivalent of Snowden (0)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44335081)

Going back to the wiretapping, it also has been common knowledge that its a unhealthy ammount in The Netherlands, but for some reason it has never upset people enough,...

I'm sure there must be a reason or two.

Why Theo Van Gogh Was Murdered [city-journal.org]
Dutch pledge Islamist crackdown [bbc.co.uk]
SPIEGEL Interview with Hirsi Ali: "We Must Declare War on Islamist Propaganda" [spiegel.de]
Violence in Holland: Jihad Behind the Dikes [spiegel.de]
Dutch anxiety over ‘Sharia triangle’ police no-go area in The Hague [irishtimes.com]
Netherlands, Germany alarmed over Islamist extremists [hurriyetdailynews.com]

Re:Where is the Dutch equivalent of Snowden (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44335617)

So, all of this wire tapping is warranted because one guy got killed a decade ago? So far all the politicians in this country that have been killed always got killed by locals and not by foreign influenced powers.

Frankly, most people I know have found all those measures way to extreme, especially when a minister comes out of the woodworks again and speaks about a heightened threat, but obviously cannot speak of it...

Re:Where is the Dutch equivalent of Snowden (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44335639)

One guy? You think that's all this is about? I suggest you go back and do more reading, you aren't getting it. I suppose there is no rush though. The Netherlands, like a growing number of countries in Europe, has a big problem brewing that won't being going away soon, if ever. If you can't see it today, you will someday.

But but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44332819)

quick, queue standard messages of how the US is worse anyway.

Re:But but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44336271)

That's alright little soldier, you just go wrap yourself in the flag and have a wittle nappy...

1 in 1000? (3, Insightful)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year ago | (#44332833)

I wonder if they took the 22,000 wire tap orders and an estimated 22 million phones and came up with that figure. That may not be accurate. Wire tap orders expire. There could be 12 wire tap orders to keep a 12 month watch on one phone. Multiple agencies may want information from the same phone; therefore multiple wire tap orders.

Re:1 in 1000? (1)

quarkie68 (1018634) | about a year ago | (#44332975)

Why don't you write him and ask for an answer. You will probably get it. After that, you will never be alone in your phone/internet conversations :-) .

Re:1 in 1000? (1)

hankwang (413283) | about a year ago | (#44335503)

"... if they took the 22,000 wire tap orders and an estimated 22 million phones and came up with that figure. That may not be accurate."

The letter states that there were 25k wire-tap orders over 2012 and that this is explicitly not the number of suspects, since some suspects use "very many" phone numbers. The letter doesn't mention 1 in 1000; that's the media spin on it.

Why does slashdot post an artocle about Netherlands at midnight local time?

Re:1 in 1000? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44353175)

Why does slashdot post an artocle[sic] about Netherlands at midnight local time?

Because it's a US site, but we're still curious about the rest of the world.

Did it work? (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#44332889)

Ignoring the human dignity issues, my question is what did they get in exchange for going NSA on their own asses?

Did it reduce the rate of crimes related to the wiretap investigations? I don't mean just raw numbers, I mean trendwise before and after the massive increase wiretapping what (if anything) changed?

Re:Did it work? (2)

1s44c (552956) | about a year ago | (#44333035)

Ignoring the human dignity issues, my question is what did they get in exchange for going NSA on their own asses?

Did it reduce the rate of crimes related to the wiretap investigations? I don't mean just raw numbers, I mean trendwise before and after the massive increase wiretapping what (if anything) changed?

The Netherlands doesn't start wars and doesn't join them if at all possible. The Netherlands isn't really racist enough against any group to make it a target of any great terrorist act. The only possible reason for this level of domestic spying in the Netherlands is to keep lazy overpaid government bureaucrats in jobs.

Re:Did it work? (0)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44335131)

Re:Did it work? (1)

erikkemperman (252014) | about a year ago | (#44335713)

Ah yes, mr Fjord has found a hit in his database of links to make his point, and is now posting the results, repeatedly. Clearly everyone should be scared shitless, like he is, of those evil Muslims. They are gaining way too much influence in "our" western countries, even though "we" would never ever dream of interfering in theirs. Take it from a Dutch guy: you are wrong.

Re:Did it work? (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44336243)

Well Mr. Dutch guy, now I am curious. Is Mr. Theo Van Goth not truly dead? Are all of those European papers wrong about events in the Netherlands? It is common for people to be poorly informed about events even in their own country. Are you quite sure that I'm the one who is wrong, and about what? You don't have to be afraid of Muslims to understand that many of them reject your values. In the long term that will have consequences. Many people prefer to not think about that.

Re:Did it work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44336531)

Wow, fjordman, one murder justifies all this snooping? What's you endpoint? An ethnically pure state?

Re:Did it work? (2)

erikkemperman (252014) | about a year ago | (#44336623)

Your examples are not so much untrue as they are selective. In fact, they are mostly about a single incident, and the echoes of that event -- which included some predictable attempts by some opportunistic politicians, and hence the mainstream media, to frame it as a debate about ethnicity, race, religion and the Greatness of Our Heritage. Populist far right, that is, who seem to have moved on since to Eurobashing.

Obviously the murder of Theo Van Gogh was a terrible crime, and yes his murderer claims to have acted on religious impulse -- van Gogh was a buffoon who insulted people for his own amusement, and found an especially rewarding response when insulting Islam so he really went to town. I shouldn't have to point out that this doesn't warrant his death, and fortunately the culprit was tried and convicted.

But you'd be wrong, in my opinion, to say that this one guy represents his religion, whether he himself claims to or not. In the same way, I don't consider Protestants represented by some anti-abortion terrorists, the Catholics by some pedophile priests or the Jews by some murderous settlers.

It's just that, in his mind, "defending my group" is less dishonorable than the blind undirected rage that affected him as an individual. If not Van Gogh, this guy would have found some other victim and possibly some other non-justification. The more likely real reasons for such rage, in this case and certain others, is the fact that this huge part of the population in our major cities have long suffered injustice.

The first generation were proactively recruited from the lower to zero educated ranks of remote rural areas of (disproportionally) Turkey and Morocco, to leave their homes and lands and to do our shitiest jobs for peanuts. Hardly any attempts were made at integration. As long as you had a single guy per crew who knew five Dutch words you were good to go. Now everybody is surprised that their kids don't magically all graduate from universities and, in stead, feel marginalized and frustrated.

I don't expect, or even wish, for everyone in my country to share all my values. I expect to live in a country where systems are in place to determine some common denomination of all our values. And I still believe the Netherlands is such a place. Despite a very few, but in compensation vocal and and hysterical, voices to the contrary.

So really, everyday life in my country is not at all adequately described by the links you posted.

Re:Did it work? (1)

1s44c (552956) | about a year ago | (#44337657)

They have a problem with far-right nutters just like a lot of other places, it's really a tiny but vocal group.

You can walk around what's described as the 'sharia triangle' above at any time in the day or night and you are very unlikely to see any trouble except maybe drunks peeing in the streets in the small hours.

See, Here's the Problem (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about a year ago | (#44332993)

Joe Average User, who doesn't know anything about the internet, assumes that we, the guys who built the Internet, made sure that all his communications would be secure from eavesdropping by... whoever. He also assumes that his posts are anonymous and won't come back to bite him in the ass when he's looking for a job. Neither one of these assumptions is at all true. The problem is that back when we were building it we really didn't think that many people would be using it and everyone who was using it at the time knew everyone else. Most of us stopped working on it after three or four years of endless September and the corporations who took it over really didn't have any incentive to secure it at that point.

Way I see it, we have two options, neither of which will work. We can fix this shit ourselves and wrest control of our communications back from the corporations. Except there are several projects (like Tor) which attempt to do this and those are ignored by most of the people who say that being monitored by everyone bugs them. We could also petition the corporations and governments who are behaving badly and demand that they behave better. Then we could hold our breaths and see what happens.

Which leads us to the third option, which is suck it up and live with it. Seems like most people are picking that one.

Re:See, Here's the Problem (0)

quarkie68 (1018634) | about a year ago | (#44333477)

No, I am sorry to say that your assumptions are not true. I have started working on the Internet in 1998, and I worked on core TCP/IP protocols and Ethernet device drivers, which is what drives today most of the corporate networks.

1)Your assumption that one has to petition corporations and governments and eventually suck it up is totally wrong. It's not only Tor. If you want to safeguard your own communications, you could setup an SSH tunnel between two BSD/Linux hosts and as long as you (or somebody you trust) can control these hosts, governments will have hard time to break you in the middle (I hope you do not start with the theories that encryption algorithms are tapped. They are not, and you are free to choose, and you have the source code to prove that). No corporation can stop you from doing that to establish who you wish to talk to, when and how. They might make it difficult, but not impossible and certainly within the feasibility of a capable IT person(s).

2)On the other hand, the assumption that the guy who sits on NSA/GCHQ has the will to listen to your personal communications one morning is also wrong. If you are an intelligence analyst, you are looking for needles in a haystack and you have specific problems to solve. Yes, there is data mining. Yes, there are ways to tap into your personal communications. Yes, you could be a bystander and accidentally tapped into in an attempt to locate someone, but this is less probable than you being the victim of a phishing/zero day exploit of some bad arse that wants your machine for a botnet, or is after your bank account, etc. 3)If you have something to hide (aka you are someone's enemy), the problem is not the technology, but the position you bring yourself into. Have the most advanced protection, they will get you, not by means of technology, but also by other means. If you have nothing to hide and you are just concerned that they might listen to you, take your measures. As I said in 1), technologies do exist to ensure that you keep whatever you wish to keep amongst few people (family, partners).

Personally, I have nothing to hide. If NSA/GCHQ want to listen to how I talk to my partners (sometimes swearing into IT problems) or what I ate in the evening, or when I need to go to the toilet, or what I order for pizza, they are welcome. Because, first I do not have a troubling position and secondly, when I talk to my family for something serious, I won't do it via the phone or facebook or twitter. I will do it in person.

So, I wish that people would spare all that crap about NSA/GCHQ listening to them. This is paranoia in the same way that you expect from Snowden and Assange to tell you that Governments around the world are playing dirty. Do you really need them to figure out that they do this? Do you really think that the big news networks are really concerned with your privacy, or rather with the advert they are going to air just before they give the latest on snowden's Moscow hotel/airport status?

Enough with this s***! Sorry, I would rather be cynical and pragmatic rather than conformant and naive.

Re:See, Here's the Problem (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about a year ago | (#44333629)

Oh sure. And I have nothing to hide either. And neither does Joe Average User, assuming he lives in a country that doesn't consider his goat porn habit illegal. But even if the various three letter agencies weren't listening at all, your internet provider (and google) has no incentive to make it easier for you to encrypt your packets or your E-mail. If they do, they can't inject their ads into your data stream. There was a project for opportunistic encryption for ipv4 a while back, that didn't go anywhere. IIRC opportunistic encryption for ipv6 was killed by the standards board.

Basically the upshot of all that is if you're worried about this sort of thing, use tor and stop being hysterical about it. If you're not, suck it up and stop being hysterical about it.

Okay they're spying. Let's accept that (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#44333105)

Their machines have to connect to listen. Why aren't we spying on them?

One has to (1)

no-body (127863) | about a year ago | (#44333347)

really question all this stuff. Not the numbers, but the purpose. Are the guys initiating and using this do it instead of doodling on paper?

Seems that just because the technology is available it is used and expanded without questioning the purpose and effect.

On top of it most happens under a veil of secrecy and when disclosed/caught it's defended and even more covered up or the whistle blowers are criminalized.

I can maybe understand that some software package like Prism is developed and the wow effect of all what can be seen with it may be there. Is it useful and adequate or does it lead to more suspects by association and then events like that:
http://www.salon.com/2013/07/10/militarized_police_overreach_oh_god_i_thought_they_were_going_to_shoot_me_next%E2%80%9D/ [salon.com]

King of Frisia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44333397)

My spymaster is too ambitious, but I can't say no to the +2 bonus it gives all his stats!

Propaganda (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44333511)

Someone is trying to dilute the scale of what the US is doing by dragging up comparatively tiny stuff. I'm sure it works just fine.

Someone is establishing the new "normal" status quo. Seems they'll be successful at that as well.

Someone doesn't realize they will be at the receiving end of their own systems because they themselves as implementers and operators are the most important targets of "enslavement" for their own system.

And since they're doing such a good job no one will be able to save them.

They have learnt absolutely nothing but all the wrong lessons from the last century, they have understood nothing of importance, they are doomed.

System success === system failure.

Re:Propaganda (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44336717)

How are they?

Opstelten (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about a year ago | (#44333559)

remember the name -- one of the biggest nitwits in Dutch politics.

All pomp and no substance. BUT.... as a politician wont to cause
a lot of harm to individuals and society. He's Dutch liberal party,
which --read on-- is the Dutch conservative party. Conserve as
in record, keep track, survey, store, use when opportune.

A regualr fucker. Opstelten 's his name.

Re:Opstelten (1)

zwarte piet (1023413) | about a year ago | (#44333733)

Why would I want to remember nitwit's name?

smarphones are the cause (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44333897)

as the article failed to point out its the use of smartphones that is the cause.
a smartphone requires 2 taps. one for voice the other one for data.

Statistical BS (1)

podz (887481) | about a year ago | (#44334159)

The statistics are only referring to the normal police, not the intelligence services. In the USA, the intelligence services tap 100% of the people. In the USA, the police don't even need a warrant to do a "wiretap" so there is no oversight. In the USA, county police departments routinely monitor the positions of people on probation via warrantless cellphone tracking.

Amsterdam is to global intelligence agencies what Las Vegas is to gamblers - they all go there at least once and many of them maintain a constant presence there. Amsterdam is the global exchange for the drug, money laundering, prostitution and human trafficking market. Intelligence services around the world fund their covert activities via the illegal business deals they carry out in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam has always been a trading city. The Dutch police keep a pretty close watch on things but they are largely unintrusive. If a tourist is being harassed, though, a burly plainclothes policeman will appear almost out of thin air to handle the situation.

Re:Statistical BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44335233)

Thanks for writing that illuminating contribution: it's the typical European combination of anti-Americanism, arrogance, and ignorance.

On a Holiday in Holland? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44334611)

Remember heavy breathing when using a phone or a computer.

They have a lot of Muslims (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44334687)

That's all.

great propaganda too (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#44335227)

And the European propaganda machine is also doing very well, telling citizens "don't worry about our wiretapping, at least we aren't America!"

Re:great propaganda too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44335733)

And the European propaganda machine is also doing very well, telling citizens "don't worry about our wiretapping, at least we aren't America!"

There is a difference. Wiretapping in the netherlands is counted and open. Also, the approval on whether to wiretap is done by an independent magistrate unrelated to the criminal investigation. The decision is made according to specified criteria.

The more interesting question than the amount of wire-taps itself is: What were the reasons for allowing the tap and were they justified?

(Dutch) Republicans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44336145)

Probably the succession of the crown by installing a new monarch and subsequent rise in activity of republicans contributed to this increase. Anything labeled anti-monarchy is of interest of the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service.

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