Eveline Lubbers on 23 Jan 2001 13:08:43 -0000

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[Nettime-nl] [FYI] Hearing On Echelon In Dutch Parliament


(more URLs at bottom)

Hearing On Echelon In Dutch Parliament  

Jelle van Buuren   23.01.2001  

Recent developments in Holland could help the inquiry on Echelon of 
the European Parliament  

Dutch members of parliament are not surprised by the official 
confirmation [0] of the Dutch government of the existence of Echelon. But
nevertheless, the confirmation is 'alarming' to them. Dutch members of the
European Parliament hope the confirmation of the Dutch government will
enable a much needed breaktrough for the temporary committee on Echelon 
the Europen Parliament, which seems to have big problems in conducting its

Monday the Dutch Parliament held a public hearing on Echelon. Last 
Friday, the Dutch government confirmed the existence of Echelon. 
Duncan Campbell told the members of parliament of recent developments in
his research into the global spying system Echelon. He has just finished a
report for the temporary committee on Echelon of the European Parliament,
in which more evidence of economical spying is revealed.  

Members of investigative bureau Jansen & Janssen [1], a watchdog in 
the field of police and intelligence services, underlined the 
interlace between police investigations and the intelligence 
services. As intelligence services have more and more powers in 
investigating organised crime, information that can't be checked 
properly will play an important part in criminal investigations. They
argued for better control on intelligence services and guarantees against
the misuse of information from intelligence sources. They further
criticised recent developments in the Netherlands, which will give more
powers to law enforcement and intelligence services, including the power
to intercept at random satellite communication. They also asked for more
investigation in the role played by hard to control international and
partly informal organisations like ILETS, the G8 and The European working
groups on police co-operation.  

The representative of the digital rights movement Bits of Freedom [2]
pointed at the strange fact that the official report of the Dutch
government is only based on open sources. Why didn't the Dutch
intelligence service conduct an investigation in to Echelon, as it is its
task to investigate threats to the Dutch national interests? He also
stressed the ambiguity of the governmental position. On the one hand they
are asked to provide for better protection of citizen's rights, while on
the other hand the government has its own interest in keeping interception
possibilities as high as possible.  

The Dutch academic researcher Cees Wiebes doubted if Echelon really 
posed a serious threat to the privacy of citizens. He claims that the
explosion in communication of all sorts, made it impossible for
intelligence services to monitor and analyse all the communication. He
expected that in the future intelligence services would concentrate on
finer search and analytical tools, to conduct more precise investigations,
which would result in less danger for the privacy.  

The Members of parliament seamed to be overwhelmed by the far-
reaching proportions of international spying practices. 'When I hear this,
if feel powerless,' stated the representative of the Christian- democratic
Party, Jan Wijn. Several members asked the experts what parliament could
do against unlimited interception practices. But the experts answered that
there have been a lot of suggestions for national and international
legislation that could lead to better control of the work of intelligence
services, but that the decisive part is the political will and courage of
parliament to force these legislation through. The experience is that the
Dutch Parliament always accepted the refusal of Dutch government to give
more openness and tools of control in the field of intelligence.  

Dutch members of the European Parliament seemed to be most pleased 
with the very recent developments. They complained that the work of 
the temporary Echelon committee is very difficult and that their work
isn't taken seriously. They hope that the confirmation of the Dutch
government of the existence of Echelon will be a breakthrough for their
own investigation.  


[0] http://www.heise.de/tp/english/inhalt/te/4729/1.html [1] 
http://www.respub.nl [2] http://www.bof.nl  

Copyright  1996-2000 All Rights Reserved. Alle Rechte vorbehalten 
Verlag Heinz Heise, Hannover  

----------------------------- CUT ----------------------------------  

Hearing on Echelon in Dutch Parliament (23-1-01)

Dutch government says Echelon exists... (20-1-01)

European Commission wants to tackle cybercrime (10-1-01)

Rapport defensie:

Ze horen ons wel, maar begrijpen het niet

Echelon hoort alles en iedereen


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