The Netherlands public image as one of the world's leaders in personal freedoms has taken a bashing with news its government is seeking to beef up its online snooping capabilities to spy on its law abiding citizens.
It wants changes to the Dutch Intelligence & Security Act of 2002 which will allow for compelled decryption and bulk data surveillance and interception of “any form of telecom or data transfer".
The proposed changes would give Dutch intelligence services power to force anyone to "help" decrypt data, by handing over either encryption keys or actual decrypted data.
As the Netherlands is a major cross road for internet traffic - connecting data freeways from Europe to the Middle East, from the United States to Hong Kong and back -the new proposals would also give Dutch authorities the ability to spy on global communications, perhaps even on behalf of the NSA or British GCHQ that have operate such arrangement presently.
Public input into the changes to the Intelligence & Security Act will be taken util September 1st.
If the proposals are passed into law, experts said the Netherlands would have "the most permissive snooping regime in the Western World" giving credence to the claims made earlier this year by super snitch and whistle blower Edward Snowden who called the Dutch “the Surveillance Kings of Europe”.
Snowden is the American computer professional and former CIA employee who in 2013 leaked classified information from the U.S. National Security Agency. Snowden is holed down in Russia with the backing of Russian authorities, with the U.S. government trying to figure out how to get him back to the States to face charges.
Snowden told Dutch television the U.S. National Security Agency and its partners in Europe were “encouraging” Dutch intelligence services to join the “Five Eyes ” group made up of the U.S, United Kingdom Canada, Australia and New Zealand who swop electronic surveillance under a multilateral treaty drawn up during the Cold War.
Commentators say Dutch intelligence heads would get a bigger kick from having the Netherlands perceived as a super spy nation than being the world leader in personal freedom laws which saw it become one of the first countries to legalize dope smoking, prostitution and euthanasia.