Inspection: police hackers not careful enough

The special police hack team that is allowed to invade suspects’ computer equipment must improve its working methods. According to the Justice and Security Inspectorate, although the team complied with virtually all legal requirements, it was careless on some points.

The Inspectorate reviewed all eight cases in which the police hacked suspects last year. This revealed that the police officers did not fully record all the actions they had taken. For example, a video was not made of the police’s screens in all cases, whereas the law requires this. As a result, the inspectorate is unable to check whether the team did anything irregular, which makes the data obtained unreliable.

Judge must give permission for hacks

Since last year the police are allowed to hack into the equipment of people suspected of serious crimes such as organized crime or terrorism. The examining magistrate has to give permission beforehand.

In a reaction to the inspectorate’s investigation, a police spokesperson says that measures have now been taken so that all actions are recorded. In a letter to the House of Representatives, Minister Grapperhaus goes on to say that having special software approved is very difficult, because the police want to deploy resources quickly. That is why extra attention is paid to the subsequent inspection and the reporting on it. A quality system is also being developed within the police force and a security officer has been appointed to supervise the procedures.