Number of Internet Taps Quintupled in One Year
THE HAGUE, 20/07/13 - The number of telephones tapped by police and prosecutors rose again last year. A big increase was seen in tapping on the Internet, wrote conservative (VVD) Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten in a letter to parliament Friday.
At 16,676, the number of Internet taps was five times as high as the previous year’s figure of 3,321. The minister attributes this to the rise of smart phones. “When a tap is put there, this consists technically of two taps, one on the speech and one on the data channel.”
In 2012, 25,487 telephones were tapped, an increase of 3 percent from 2011. The prosecutor's office (OM) requested historical data 57,825 times, for example about the location of a conversation. Here, the increase was over 10 percent.
The minister stresses that the number of taps is not the same as the number of tapped persons. This is because “some suspects have very many numbers in use, and these area included in the statistics per tapped number.”
A study by the justice ministry’s Scientific Research and Documentation Centre (WODC) pointed out last year that telephone tapping is steadily becoming less effective. Information from telephone conversations is by no means always complete because nowadays there are so many different forms of communication.
Far more phones are tapped in the Netherlands than in neighbouring countries. According to Opstelten, a careful weighing up is made of the usefulness and the need for the telephone and Internet tap.