Advice: Police Allowed to Hack Suspects’ Computers
THE HAGUE, 18/07/13 - The Council for Jurisprudence (RVR) is positive on the plans of Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten to make it possible for police and public prosecutor’s office to hack suspects’ computers. The consultative body for the judiciary is however critical about the so-called unlocking order.
Opstelten’s plans are intended to make it possible for police and public prosecutor to break into computer servers. This is necessary, for example, to find out who is behind so-called DDoS attacks. It should also become possible to hack into computers of suspects of child porn or terrorism, for example.
Under Opstelten’s proposals, locked files can be circumvented by the so-called decrypting order. In this way, tracking officials can tap and observe conversations via Skype and e-mail services.
If unlocking does not succeed, suspects can be required to release protected data. This who do not do so will face a prison sentence of three years.
The RVR said Wednesday in recommendations to the cabinet that this last part of the proposed bill may turn out to be unfeasible. It could be in conflict with Article 6 of the European Treaty for Human Rights. This states that nobody is required to cooperate on their own conviction.
For the other parts of the proposed bill, the RVR sees no problems. According to the Council, the new tracking powers could form a “far-reaching infringement of certain constitutional rights.” But because Opstelten says the deployment of the new powers of police and public prosecutor must first be approved by the judge, the Council is of the opinion that the constitutional rights will be sufficiently protected.