Senate backs bill that gives police hacking powers

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A majority of the Senate on Tuesday voted in favor of the Computer Crime III Bill, also known as the ‘hacking proposal’. This allows the law to come into effect and gives the police the power to hack devices remotely.

Among the parties that voted in favor were D66, VVD, CDA, SGP, ChristenUnie and PvdA. D66 voted against the proposal in the House of Representatives. Among the votes against were GroenLinks, SP, Party for the Animals, 50 Plus and PVV. Because a majority voted in favor of the bill, the law is a fact after it has been signed and published.

During the recent discussion in the Senate, the parties asked questions about the scope of the law, among other things, because it is possible to declare it applicable to crimes other than those listed in the law itself by means of an order in council. . The parties also paid attention to reporting unknown vulnerabilities and to monitoring the powers under the new law. Earlier it appeared that the police may not purchase unknown vulnerabilities under the new law, but that software may be purchased that uses such vulnerabilities for its operation.

Various motions were also submitted, for example the motion by GroenLinks Member of Parliament Tineke Strik. He argued in favor of setting up an independent committee to assess the use of the hacking powers. Minister Grapperhaus of Justice and Security advised against this, but left the motion of D66 member Annelien Bredenoord to the House. This states that the aforementioned order in council will first be submitted to the Senate, so that it can carry out a proportionality test. Finally, the minister said during the meeting that the hacking powers will be used at a minimum and that an annual report on the deployment will be made. The first motion was rejected by the House on Tuesday, while the second was passed.

The law has had a relatively long process; the first proposal reached the House of Representatives at the end of 2015. About a year later, the House of Representatives voted in favor of the proposal. In addition to hacking powers, the law also deals with matters such as making data inaccessible, for example with hosting providers. According to the law, police officers can also be used as ‘lure teenagers’ to track down people who contact minors via the internet. In addition, trading in stolen data is punishable by law.

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