1. 22

  2. 17

    It might be more helpful to link to the actual bill.

    And here is my translation of the Eerste Kamer’s description of the bill:

    This proposed law replaces the existing Wet op de inlichtingen- en veiligheidsdiensten 2002 [1]. It extends the investigative powers of the Algemene Inlichtingen en Veiligheidsdienst (AIVD) and Militaire Inlichtingen en Veiligheidsdienst (MIVD) [2] to cable-bound communications.

    The bill inscribes the Services’ powers, the use of those powers, their purposes and their responsibilities precisely in law. The powers are now only applicable with permission from the Minister and from a new independent commission, the Toetsingscommissie Inzet Bevoegdheden [3]. This applies to the Services’ existing powers to tap phones and break into computers, in addition to the new more general powers to monitor cable-bound communications (telephony, internet, email, social media etc.) The Commissie van Toezicht op de Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdiensten becomes an independent complaints body with the power to make binding rulings on citizens’ complaints.

    Contextual notes:

    • The Eerste Kamer [5] has no power to amend or initiate legislation, and its primary purpose in the legislative process is to perform yet a third check of a bill’s constitutionality and its consistency with other legislation. Most bills pass without comment for that reason.

    • As far as I can tell, therefore, the bill they passed is identical to the bill they received from the Tweede Kamer [6] back in February—since when there has been a general election to the Tweede Kamer, but not the Eerste Kamer.

    • The law’s entry into force is still to be scheduled, and it may still be subject to an advisory referendum or (as mentioned in the ‘article,’ judicial review).

    • The Dutch constitution is very clear on the right to privacy and the Eerste Kamer has clearly put unusual effort into checking the constitutionality of this law.

    And my opinion:

    I don’t care much for the content of this bill. However, it was passed by large majorities (electoral and parliamentary) in both chambers, and that majority still holds after the election. If it comes into force, it will have survived many opportunities for rejection by the Crown in the first instance, the legislature on two occasions, by the People directly at their option, and by the judiciary at theirs.

    Warrants for Dutch surveillance of cable communications would therefore have democratic legitimacy of a kind scarcely conceivable for the most trivial action of the UK government. It does not make the use of encryption a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment (as it has been in England for over a decade); it does not compel backdoors or ban encryption entirely (both of which have been repeatedly proposed by the current UK government); or establish permanent monitoring of all unencrypted or breakable Internet communication (as the US’s NSA and UK’s GCHQ have been doing for years).

    In summary, this law gives the Dutch government legitimately derived powers that I imagine most people reading this assumed it already had, and extends protections against abuse of existing powers. I would not have voted for it, and I hope the judicial review goes ahead. But there is no trace of a ‘dragnet’ that I can find, and it is not remotely comparable to established practice elsewhere. Whether the complacent application of that low standard will doom us remains to be seen.

    (Sorry for the wall of text.)

    Translation footnotes:

    1. Law on the intelligence and security services; the Intelligence and Security Services Act 2002.
    2. General/Military Intelligence and Security Services respectively.
    3. Powers Usage Review Commission; no official English name as yet.
    4. Inspectorate of Intelligence and Security Services.
    5. First Chamber; the Upper House; the Senate.
    6. Second Chamber; the Lower House; the House of Representatives.
    7. Law on advisory referenda; the Advisory Referendum Act 2014.
    1. 1

      The law’s entry into force is still to be scheduled, and it may still be subject to an advisory referendum or (as mentioned in the ‘article,’ judicial review).

      Is anyone (like BoF) actively trying to get an advisory referendum? Apparently, this needs to be done by collecting 10,000 requests of eligible voters within 4 weeks after the publication of the law, followed by 300,000 requests within 6 weeks.

      [1] https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volksraadpleging

    2. 2

      And just like every government that can, they were already doing it anyway even without the “powers”.

      It’s like they were doing something they couldn’t do (because Law!), just because they could! :)

      But this kind of stuff could never happen, because Checks And Balances™.