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<nettime> Dutch parliament will hold hearing on Echelon
Eveline Lubbers on 26 Jun 2000 14:47:42 -0000


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<nettime> Dutch parliament will hold hearing on Echelon


There is an interesting development in the Netherlands regarding Echelon.

In the last two years members of parliament have asked the ministry of
Internal Affairs en Justice about Echelon on a regular basis. In all cases
the questions were answered in the most uninformative manner possible. The
ministers diminished all reports on Echelon as 'only open-source' and found
further investigation useless as the existence of the interception could not
be 'detected'.

Last week Bits of Freedom and buro Jansen & Janssen
wrote article in the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad about the need for an
investigation by the Dutch parliament. We argued that it was useless for
members of parliament to ask any more questions to ministers about Echelon
if then are not answered in a serious way. An investigation is the only way
to go now.

Much to our surprise, only 4 days later, the Dutch Green party managed to
get a proposal through the parliament committee on Justice to hold a hearing
on Echelon. It is scheduled for September. It is a very small step and not
yet an investigation. But for a country that is so loyal to the US and the
UK in its foreign policy, it is a step that did not seem possible in the past.

The discussion in the European parliament is having quite some impact in the
feelings among Dutch parliamentarians on Echelon. As the European Justice
ministers just met to discuss 'counter-measures against economic espionage
through interception', this might be the moment for other privacy watchers in
Europe to press for hearings or investigations in their national assemblies.

article in NRC (in Dutch)
http://www.nrc.nl/W2/Lab/Echelon/000616.html

Dossier Cryptografie 
(in Dutch, will be available in English end of July)
http://www.xs4all.nl/~respub/crytpo

Eveline Lubbers
buro Jansen & Janssen

Maurice Wessling
Bits of Freedom

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