Intelligence agencies are temporarily gaining more space in the fight against state hackers

A new bill gives intelligence services AIVD and MIVD temporarily wider powers, sources report to the CCeit. The bill is intended for research into other countries with an โ€œoffensive cyber programโ€; which countries are is not known.

โ€œWe are seeing the cyber threat of these countries aimed at the Netherlands increase. The purpose of the temporary law is to give the services more armto that,โ€ confirms a spokesperson for the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

The law is not intended to give the services more powers, but to โ€œgive them more armover to deploy existing powersโ€.

The proposal was discussed in the Council of Ministers this afternoon, but there has not been a knot over it yet. The supervisors of the intelligence services are still allowed to have their say about it.

Target

Sources report to deCCeit that the services may be easier to hack, without requesting permission from the supervisory authority every time. Now that has to be done per digital target: so per web host, phone or computer, in the new situation, this only needs to be done for an entire operation. Whether that is also concrete in the law is not yet established.

For example, it involves cracking systems that are not directly connected to the target, such as those of an Internet service provider or another system connected to a target. The Assessment Committee on Deployment Powers, which normally has to give permission for a hack, would not play a role in this.

China, Russia and Iran, among others, are accused of regularly attacking the Netherlands and other Western countries. Powers could therefore be more easily deployed in the fight against those countries, but emphatically only in the direction of computer systems.

Turmoil

At the beginning of this year, an evaluation of the Intelligence Act was published, which lays down the powers of the services. That evaluation was promised after a majority of voters voted against that law in a referendum, but the law was introduced.

The evaluation committee recommended more stringent safeguards and better supervision, while in other areas, monitoring would be eased.

In The Hague, the new bill leads to turmoil, because it was not in the proposals of the evaluation committee, and is hurrying the outgoing cabinet with its introduction. The House of Representatives stated, rather, that the powers of the supervisors should not be curtailed.