I’ve remarked before on the way the “child porn argument” is being abused to push privacy violating measures through parliaments. In short, it often boils down to this: Police or justice department needs access to “x”. Parliament asks (if we’re lucky): “Doesn’t that violate the privacy of “y”? Response: “Yes, but it will help us stop child porn. Please, won’t somebody think of the children?” Parliament: “Oh, okay then…” End of discussion because everybody is against child porn, right? Yes of course, most people are. No member of parliament wants to be seen as someone who would stop measures that could help the fight against child porn. Which is why this argument is wrong, it’s a discussion stopper. I’ve rarely seen it explained more clearly than here.
For an outgoing cabinet, our current ministers are certainly busy. Busy looking for ways to endanger our privacy, it seems. Just days after two letters from Ivo Opstelten reached the news, Dutch investigative reports for the TV program KRO Reporter have discovered documents that suggest that outgoing minister for Health, Welfare and Sports, Edith Schippers is working on a law that would allow Dutch law enforcement access to DNA information stored in Dutch medical facilities.
If you’ve taken the time to read the page describing what this blog is all about, you will have seen that I describe myself there as a free speech radical. I believe that free speech is absolutely necessary if a democracy is to function at all. I therefore believe that any form of censorship is objectionable, apart from self-censorship.
Dutch digital rights defenders Bits of Freedom are calling for international opposition against the latest proposal from Ivo Opstelten, wanting to grant police the right to hack into suspects computers, even across borders. In an article on their blog, they outline the cybersecurity risks related to this proposal. I’m also hoping for a lot of international (and national) opposition against this strange and dangerous proposal.
British Information Commissioner Christopher Graham told a committee of MPs and peers last Tuesday that the draft Communications Data Bill as it stands would only put a stop to “the incompetent criminal and the accidental anarchist”. This proposed bill would give British law enforcement and secret service more access to telecoms data.
Dutch minister of Justice Ivo Opstelten is certainly being a busy boy. Just a few days have passed since his last letter and now he has written another one, equally worrying or perhaps more so. In short, he is suggesting in a as yet not public letter that the Dutch police should have the right to hack. Excuse me? Yes, a right to hack.