Dutch cyber cops could be licensed to hack

The Dutch government has revealed plans to give the police extra powers to fight cybercrime. Under the proposed new law officers would be given the right to hack into computers, read emails, install spyware and delete files. They could also be authorised to tap VoIP calls and break into servers located outside the country if they were being used to host DDoS attacks.

The country’s Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten says that the powers would be used under strict control and that the approval of a judge would be needed before the police could carry out these actions.

Terrorism and child pornography are areas of special concern in the bill but it would also introduce penalties for the publication of stolen data. In addition the bill would make it a crime for a suspect to refuse to decipher encrypted files or hand over passwords during an investigation by police.

Digital rights group Bits of Freedom is opposed to the new law saying that it sets a bad precedent and that its preparation has been rushed.

The bill is set to undergo revisions before being put to parliament at the end of the year. If it’s passed then no doubt other governments will be looking at how they too can kick down the doors of suspects’ computers.

Photo Credit: Ivonne Wierink/Shutterstock

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