Thursday, May 29, 2008

Correction: Dutch cops wiretap about 2.5 times as much as U.S.

(flickr: scruffy dan and breanne)

Data on Dutch wiretaps has been released for the first time. National police tapped roughly 25,000 phones in 2007. Those are taps authorized by a judge, not counting intelligence agency taps.

Because we have so little information from the Justice Ministry*, it's very hard to say how the Netherlands _ reputedly the "most tappingest" country on Earth _ stacks up.

There were 2,119 such tapping orders granted in the United States in 2007.

However, each U.S. tap requests led to ON AVERAGE 94 individual phones being tapped. That's presumably because they are often going after gangs and/or tapping everybody even tangentially related to a case.

So the equivalent number of U.S. phones tapped by cops would be (whips out pocket calculator) 94*2,119 =200,000.

Considering that the U.S. population is roughly 20 times bigger than the Dutch population, Dutch cops are, in proportion, tapping about 2.5 as often as U.S. cops.

I got it wildly wrong on my previous post because, of course, I didn't have the actual data from Dutch justice yet, and relied on ANP.
Most Dutch papers are still running the story today comparing apples to oranges, as I did in my previous post.

Still, it's interesting that the Dutch tap more than twice as much as Americans, and I'm very curious to know if there will ever be data released on what their conviction rate is.

(full text of Justice Ministry statement translated after the "More" below)

(vaguely artistic)

In my letter of 13 November 2007 I promised to send you tapping statistics about the second half of 2007.
With this letter I would like to fulfill that promise.

The National Interception Unit of the Corps of National Police Services (KLPD) carries out interceptions for all police corps, the Special Investigation services and the Royal Marechaussee (border police) and has functioned since mid-2007 as the only center for interception of telecommunications for use in investigations.

In the second half of 2007 there were orders given by the Public Prosecutor's Office for tapping 12,491 telephone numbers.
These were 84 percent on mobile phones and 16 percent on fixed lines.

In the period concerned there were a daily average of 1,681 taps running.

The full year figures will be named in the budgeting cycle and in that way will be made knowable to you.


Ernie (Ernst Hirsch Ballin)


Anonymous said...

Old news, my friend. Eavesdropping and Gossip is are national pastimes in 0031, neh? Also, guess where the software and gizmos involved come from? (Hint: Its not the US) Just follow the system backdoor...

Anonymous said...

"Those are taps authorized by a judge"

The taps in The Netherlands aren't authorized by judges, but approved by the Ministry of the Interior. (Different procedures are used for taps from Intelligence agencies)

Toby Sterling said...

@Kraken _ As far as I know, the OM must still have a judge look at whether a tap is legit.

I should add: I know the previous Justice Minister planned to get rid of the need for a judge in terrorism cases; but I forget whether that exception is in the law yet or not.

De bevoegdheid om binnen de opsporing communicatie af te tappen is geregeld in art. 126m van het Wetboek van Strafvordering (WvSv).

(Blah blah)

Dit opsporingsmiddel kan niet zomaar worden ingezet, er moet aan voorwaarden voldaan zijn om “aan een opsporingsambtenaar een bevel te geven om telecommunicatie op te nemen met een technisch hulpmiddel”.

De vordering moet worden gedaan door een Officier van Justitie, er moet een verdenking zijn van een strafbaar feit waar 4 jaar of meer gevangenisstraf voor opgelegd kan worden (art. 67 WvS) en dat een ernstige inbreuk op de rechtsorde oplevert en het onderzoek moet het dringend vorderen (er moeten geen lichtere opsporingsmethoden tot hetzelfde resultaat kunnen leiden).

(Blah Blah)


De Officier heeft voor het uitvaardigen van een tapbevel toestemming nodig van een Rechter Commissaris. Deze geeft op verzoek
van de Officier een machtiging af.

The rest is blah blah but maybe this last bit is of interest.

Het is mogelijk om, in geval van dringende noodzaak, een tapbevel mondeling te geven en de formaliteiten later in orde te maken. Dit wordt een “spoedtap” genoemd. De Officier moet dan mondelinge toestemming krijgen van een Rechter Commissaris. Deze moet de toestemming wel binnen drie dagen op schrift stellen. Vervolgens kan de Officier mondeling een bevel geven tot het opnemen van telecommunicatie, die hij of zij ook binnen die drie dagen op schrift stelt.