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Dutch Bill Seeks To Give Law Enforcement Hacking Powers 114

Posted by samzenpus
from the taking-a-look dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Dutch government today presented a draft bill that aims to give law enforcement the power to hack into computer systems — including those located in foreign countries — to do research, gather and copy evidence or block access to certain data. Law enforcement should be allowed to block access to child pornography, read emails that contain information exchanged between criminals and also be able to place taps on communication, according to a draft bill published Thursday and signed by Ivo Opstelten, the Minister of Security and Justice. Government agents should also be able to engage in activities such as turning on a suspect's phone GPS to track their location, the bill said. Opstelten announced last October he was planning to craft this bill."
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Dutch Bill Seeks To Give Law Enforcement Hacking Powers

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  • Child porn (Score:5, Informative)

    by readingaccount (2909349) on Friday May 03, 2013 @02:56AM (#43617845)

    Ah good - they've been paying attention and made sure to include the good ol' "child pornography" bit in the list of reasons as justification for breaking into someone else's machine. No bill can be taken seriously without that think-of-the-children element added to it.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The Netherlands has seen some high profile DDOS attacks on both its banks and a government service that allows login to government sites (DigiID), The re emerging of this idea is therefor no surprise. It has not been successful so far.

      The reason is simple, Americans might complain about the two-party system... well... we got about a dozen. And not all that different in size either. Our current government is "VVD" (Think business rules all democrats) and PvDA which used to be the labour party (socialist) but

      • by jimshatt (1002452) on Friday May 03, 2013 @03:55AM (#43618015)

        Remember Americans, you might not like your two party system but are you ready for a system in which EVERYONE must be kept happy/miserable?

        Yes, I think EVERYONE slightly miserable is the better alternative, opposed to a few people happy and the rest utterly miserable. The poldermodel (sorry for teh dutch) has its merits.

        • by mcvos (645701)

          Absolutely. If we can't all be happy, at least spread the misery around a bit, so nobody has a strong interest in increasing the misery for others.

          There's a lot wrong with Dutch politics, but it's still a thousand times better than the rampant insanity of US politics.

      • by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Friday May 03, 2013 @04:00AM (#43618037) Journal
        The law might very well pass. In ordinary circumstances it would likely be shot down in the senate, who are supposed to be more or less apolitical, and normally only pass or strike proposed bills after checking if they are fair, just, in line with other laws and principles, and practical. At the moment however, the governing parties have no majority in the senate, which has opened up the floor for all sorts of political wheeling & dealing, precisely the sort of thing the senate is not supposed to do. The party leader for the Christian Democrats even said it out loud: Quid pro quo, if you want your laws passed. A statement which I think ought to get him ejected from the senate.

        So we have a law on the table. A law which goes against our civil liberties, something that many a party in the opposition is not going to like. However the issue of civil liberties, especially "digital" ones, has always been a political bargaining chip that is easily given up if it can be exchanged for something better. When this law lands in the senate, you can be sure that many parties will be interested in supporting it in exchange for something else.
      • by operagost (62405)

        same as Republican is the socially acceptable alternative to the KKK

        It disgusts me when cretins like your trivialize the horrible struggle for civil rights in the USA in this manner. Lincoln was a Republican, the Civil Right Act was sponsored and voted for by Republicans, and Jim Crow was a creation of the Democrats. You would know this if you weren't a vainglorious European who has no idea what the KKK even was, or is. Having lived under the thumb of Hitler for a time, you think you'd know better than

        • by Alsee (515537)

          It disgusts me when cretins like your trivialize the horrible struggle for civil rights in the USA in this manner. Lincoln was a Republican, the Civil Right Act was sponsored and voted for by Republicans, and Jim Crow was a creation of the Democrats. You would know this if you weren't a vainglorious European who has no idea what the KKK even was, or is.

          It's hysterical how vainglorious Republicans trivialize the horrible struggle for civil rights in the USA, and how they have no idea (or are in UTTER DENIAL) of the history and modern reality of their own party.

          In 1970 Nixon's political strategist stated the following in a New York Times interview:

          From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don't need any more than that...but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the V

      • by Damouze (766305)

        The socialist utopia is a society that leaves everyone equally miserable.Granted, it is not what they strive for, but it is what would be the end result if they ever got their way.

    • Re:Child porn (Score:5, Informative)

      by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Friday May 03, 2013 @03:42AM (#43617975) Journal
      I think child porn ought to be the legislator's Godwin: mention it, and your bill gets shit-canned automatically.

      Incidentally, the bill goes beyond hacking into suspects' computers. It also states that suspects (not convicted criminals) can be forced to hand over encryption keys, if they are suspected of serious crimes. So in the interest of making things easier for investigators, we've done away with an important legal principle ("nemo tenetur") which states that suspects cannot be forced to aid their own prosecution. The minister thinks that this principle should be set aside for, you guessed it, suspects of terrorism or kiddie porn.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        nemo tenetur doesn't allow you to hide evidence or refuse to hand over evidence if law enforcement knows it exists. For instance you can't refuse to hand over a stolen car you have hidden simply because it will incriminate you further providing hard evidence to something they already know you did.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Yes, but there is a huge difference between suspects and convicted criminals. They must first prove they know you stole the car before really being able to demand it back. Either we need to move trowards encryption as truecrypt has the ability and ensure you can have a second or multiple hidden partitions. But sooner or later that may end on them being allowed to force you to give the key to the hidden partition, even if there isn't one, making you guilty of at least one crime whenever they investigate.

          • You know it exists? But I didn't use a pass phrase. I used a pass key, stored on a USB stick. Sadly I lost it a while ago or I could show you that it's just some harmless files.

            Prove I'm lying.

            • by melikamp (631205)
              This. I think there is a fundamental limitation on passwords: human brains suck at remembering good ones. This excuse will make a ton of sense in the future world, where digital security is taken seriously. At least as seriously as locking doors today.
        • Re:Child porn (Score:5, Informative)

          by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Friday May 03, 2013 @04:24AM (#43618117) Journal
          Actually, it does. As a suspect, you are not obliged to hand over evidence or tell the police where to find it if they ask for it, and you can not be punished for withholding this information. However, the police are authorized to obtain this evidence by other means, i.e. busting down your door and looking for it, or asking someone else who is not a suspect and thus not protected by nemo tenetur.

          There are several EU countries where this principle is interpreted narrowly (certainly the Netherlands), and the law in some cases does compel suspects to hand over documents and keys while retaining only the right to literally remain silent, but the European Human Rights Court has overturned many convictions obtained thus on appeal. Even in cases where suspects of tax evasion got fined for not handing over incriminating records (and the tax agencies over here are notorious for being allowed to do whatever the hell they please in order to get at your cash).
          • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

            In the UK you can go to jail for refusing to hand over your encryption keys, and people have. The maximum sentence is two years, so clearly anyone who has done anything really bad is going to take that option.

            I believe there was a ECHR challenge but it failed.

            • Same in France I believe, and this is what they want to implement in the Netherlands as well. The ECHR is wary of this issue but it certainly isn't completely clear-cut. Some info on exceptions in this paper. [www.wodc.nl] (PDF alert).
          • How does nemo tenetur interact with obstruction of justice? e.g., If they ask someone who isn't a suspect and they are subsequently charged with obstruction, can they then invoke their right to remain silent even if the information isn't self-incriminating? Or can my own silence bring obstruction charges?

            And does the narrowest interpretation include non-verbal communication? e.g., if the law compels me to supply a decryption key and I literally remain silent, can they compel me to write it down? And what if

            • How does nemo tenetur interact with obstruction of justice? e.g., If they ask someone who isn't a suspect and they are subsequently charged with obstruction, can they then invoke their right to remain silent even if the information isn't self-incriminating? Or can my own silence bring obstruction charges?

              If you refuse to surrender information that doesn't incriminate you, then there's no conflict between obstruction of justice and the right to remain silent.

              • by ultranova (717540)

                If you refuse to surrender information that doesn't incriminate you, then there's no conflict between obstruction of justice and the right to remain silent.

                Of course there is: if you can only refuse to surrender information that incriminates you, then silence is as good as admitting guilt - and besides, how do you prove information would incriminate you without surrendering it?

              • How does that work? Let me set up a hypothetical example.

                Jim is suspected of robbing a bank. The police have noticed a man of Joe's description in a certain area, and ask him if he saw something like the getaway car on some property of Jim's that generally nobody goes to. (The police are not at all sure it was Joe, and ask several people of that description.) Apparently, Joe must tell the police that he did see the car there, and that does confirm his presence at that place at that time. I see two p

    • I said it before, I say it again, before I side with politicians that try to reach into my privacy, I'd rather side with pedos. Simple self interest. I'm an old guy, no pedo would be interested in dealing with me in any way. Politicians, otoh...

      • by melikamp (631205)

        Hehehe. I, for one, don't understand for the life of me why it is OK to share videos of soldiers shooting at children with automatic weapons, for real. Or what Lucas did with kids in the prequels. How is that OK, and a depiction of a fictional sex abuse act is not OK? I think children involved in actual acts would strongly agree with me, too.

        Or what about any movie where a super-villain is trying to destroy the world? Why are we OK with looking at that imagery? Isn't that the worst fucking thing that one

        • by rtb61 (674572)

          The easy answer for this is capitalistic greed currently defines this world. Why did a billionaire get home arrest for sexually abusing under age girls in the mansion where the abuse occurred? Why is it OK for a President to blow children to bits with drone fired missiles, why did a gunship crew get away with shooting up children and why do Israeli snipers get away with targeting children. Now that's just for a start. No fiction actual brutal reality.

          Back to that law, governments can bullshit legislate c

        • Simple. Logic and reason has no room in legislation around sex, drugs and copyright.

  • by gl4ss (559668) on Friday May 03, 2013 @02:59AM (#43617851) Homepage Journal

    they would still be criminals in the other countries. might be troublesome if they plan to travel, while having wire fraud and computer crime charges on their heads...

    and well, they're part of the eu so that too, might be unavoidable to remain and not extradite to other eu countries.

    • by Grashnak (1003791)

      Right, because no other country in the world has it's security forces hacking computers, and if they do, they're immediately arrested and extradited under international law...

      Oh wait... no.

      Congrats on being outstandingly naive.

  • by gweihir (88907) on Friday May 03, 2013 @03:04AM (#43617863)

    Really no difference to Chinese state-sponsored hackers. For anybody else, these people are just an (advanced) persistent threat, as they will not go to jail if identified, at least not in their own country. Treat them no different than any other criminal hackers from a different country.

    • Really no difference to Chinese state-sponsored hackers. For anybody else, these people are just an (advanced) persistent threat, as they will not go to jail if identified, at least not in their own country. Treat them no different than any other criminal hackers from a different country.

      I think that issue here is that law enforcement can use evidence obtained by hacking to prosecute someone. State-sponsored hacking, be it Chinese or American, is used to gather intelligence, but is clandestine by nature and cannot be used as evidence... well, at least in the criminal justice system. Who knows what "secret evidence" is introduced in the kangaroo courts used to try suspected terrorists... As someone else pointed out, the reason behind this bill is probably that it is cheaper to obtain evidenc

  • The key word is suspect here. Not a convicted or tried person that has been found guilty.
    • by Hentes (2461350)

      It would be pointless to collect evidence after conviction. This is really no different from phone tapping, it requires a warranty that's only issued when there's reasonable suspicion.

  • The white hat, grey hat and black hat experts will be all over this.
    Identify the product sold to the police, how its injected into a users OS.
    How to protect, what it phone homes too....
    This was tried in Australia in the past:
    http://www.smh.com.au/technology/security/hackers-break-into-police-computer-as-sting-backfires-20090818-eohc.html [smh.com.au]
    i.e. just a "phone home" computer in suburbia.
    But will some consumer OS be enough the Dutch? Or will they need to link to Big Iron?
    or 100's of empty rented homes wi
  • Such plans are always extremely controversial and there is so much to consider, seeing as how a)hacking is hacking, i.e., illegal; b) there is an ever finer growing line between that and the methods law enforcement, at least in this case, aims to use to prevent crime or gather evidence; c) on the other hand, criminals are going to keep using the web and new technology just like everyone else... so the question mark is of course hanging between protecting citizens' privacy and identifying those online accoun
  • by Squeak (10756) on Friday May 03, 2013 @03:49AM (#43618003)

    If the hack is at such a level that they have system write access (e.g.. to place taps on communications) then the defence case has a much stronger case just by asking whether the the same channel could be use to plant evidence, whether by the law enforcement agency or by a third party.

  • And the same politicians will wine "that never again" on liberation day (May 5th).
  • by Anonymous Coward

    - The proposed bill gives police the right to hack -- in collaboration with local authorities if the location of the server is known.
    Basically: only unknown server location might involve hacking not allowed by local jurisdiction.
    - The proposed bill allows the police to place spyware on suspect's PCs to eavesdrop on e.g. Skype.
    - There is apparently a clause to require decryption for child terrorists / porn suspects. Punishable by up to 3 years jailtime.

    The second one is bad enough, but the las

  • I thought WW3 was supposed to be starting somewhere in the Middle East? If Dutch cops think they can hack around the globe - and announce they'll be doing so whenever the mood takes them - won't that upset any country who has already stated that incoming hacks will be treated as an act of war?

    They must be smoking some good shit there these days!

    • The Middle East is increasingly irrelevant in the international scene.

      Many places are finding their energy needs elsewhere. Soon, hopefully, the demands of autocrats and dictators in M.E. countries will be mostly irrelevant.

      This fact, of course, has the usual suspects sputtering and furious. 'Fracking,' pipelines from western Canada, and all that.

  • by Frans Faase (648933) on Friday May 03, 2013 @04:37AM (#43618165) Homepage
    It has been argued that one of the real reasons behind this bill is the lack of resources with the police to follow-up all the now already available means of tracking down offenders. Appearantly, it is much cheaper to use hacking tools than to do some old style research and detective work. Or at least that is the impression given by those marketing these hacking tools.
  • I mean, sorry, yeah, it's a felony, but we've authorized our people to do this. No we won't extradite our police officers to you, ...

    What makes me really wonder about this in the context of the EU warrant, I mean, compromising computer security is a felony everywhere, so by the rules of the EU warrant the NL would be required to extradite their own police officers?

    • by 1s44c (552956)

      Newsflash - Police are above the law.

      • by Damouze (766305)

        Wrong.

        The police are NOT avove the law. If anything, they are kept under even closer scrutiny than ordinary citizens.

        • by 1s44c (552956)

          Wrong.

          The police are NOT avove the law. If anything, they are kept under even closer scrutiny than ordinary citizens.

          Rubbish. For all practical purposes the police are above the law.

  • by theM_xl (760570) on Friday May 03, 2013 @04:58AM (#43618213)

    Sadly, I have to admit he IS just that stupid.

    He's been busy trying to kill privacy while turning a dozen bureaucratic police corpses into a single grand paper mill with vast investigative powers and near-zero investigative ability. Percentage of crimes solved is historically low. Priority appears to be crimes that aren't (example: 440 man DAYS burned on a single 4Chan message of a schoolkid threatening to set his school on fire), as well as traffic violations (effectively turning the police into an extended tax collection agency).

    Sadly, he's not going anywhere until the next elections.

  • "... give the the power to hack into computer systems ..."

    Why stop there?

    They should also give them the power to leap tall buildings, x-ray vision, run faster than a speeding bullet. I mean if we are talking about legislating that they be able to do things they are innately incapable of doing, why just stop at the ability to hack?

  • by johanw (1001493) on Friday May 03, 2013 @06:37AM (#43618473)
    What is missing in the article is that the same hardline minister also put in that law the option for the prosecutor (not even a judge, just a prosecutor with a vested interest in a case) to order a suspect to decrypt encrypted files, punishable by max. 3 years in prison if he does not comply. It remains to be seem what the judges will do with "I forgot", or "I destroyed the keyfile" or "there is no hidden volume". So he leaves the inconvenient "not guilty until proven guilty" and "you have the right to remain silent". This could be overruled by the European court for the human rights but that takes a lot of time.
  • by Sloppy (14984)

    Think of it as a public service announcement. This is a government's way of reminding everyone that their computer systems are broken, broken to the point of shocking negligence. When their left hand (law enforcement) does this, it just means you need to ask their right hand (regulators) what they're doing about the known serious problem.

    If the government can successfully ask your phone to power up and query GPS and tell them where you are, anyone can ask your phone to tell them where you are. That means

  • It will get out of control and we'll be lucky to live through it!
  • If police need to break into computers as part of their job, will computer security (firewalls/anti-virus/etc) be considered "obstructing a police officer"?

  • I freakin' knew Beatrix shouldn't have resigned!

  • good luck navigating between the honeypots then :) stupid idea, lousy diplomacy, who the hell wants foreign police to be able to stick their noses in anything at will ? not even big government wants that, maybe especially not big government. Only good thing i see coming from that is more advanced scanners and blockers or maybe one that gives a clean image of a dekstop with a fish tank screensaver whenever someone tries to peek. Since standard police is usually renowned for its extensive education and knowle

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