Do Dutch Spies Also Have Access To PRISM's Data? And If So, Who Else Does?

from the clear-as-mud dept

In the wake of the leaks about NSA's spying activities around the world, one of the interesting subsidiary questions is: who else had access to this stuff? We know that the UK did, and now there are indications the Dutch did as well, according to this report on
Justice minister Ivo Opstelten on Tuesday refused to comment on claims the Dutch security service AIVD works together with the US secret services in collecting information from email and social media traffic.

Dutch security service AIVD has also received information on email and social media traffic via US spy system PRISM, the Telegraaf reports on Tuesday.
Some pretty dramatic claims are being made:
If the AIVD lists an American address as suspicious, it is supplied all the information within five minutes, a source told the paper. The source worked for the department which monitored potential Dutch Muslim extremists, the paper said.

Dutch companies also cooperated with the US authorities' request for information, the source said, claiming that 'there are agents ready to deal with requests for information inside companies and institutions.'

'There are a couple of those secret programmes like Prism active in the Netherlands,' the source is quoted as saying.
There are a few points to note here. First, this is a report about a story in the Dutch newspaper Telegraaf, which draws on unnamed sources. So the chain of information is quite long, and it's likely that details have been lost or mischaracterized along the way. It's also worth noting that PRISM is not the only system mentioned here for gleaning information about people. That's probably muddying the waters yet more, as sources reveal tantalizing information about other spying initiatives that then get subsumed under the general heading of PRISM, simply because it's in the headlines at the moment.

That's not to minimize the shocking nature of these revelations -- the idea that spies around the world may be accessing within minutes any private information they want, is troubling -- merely to note that the picture we have of what is going on remains frustratingly vague. And that, of course, is an argument for more transparency from the authorities, both in the US and elsewhere, about what is really happening to our personal information when we go online, and who has access to it.

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Filed Under: access, data, europe, netherlands, nsa, nsa surveillance, prism, us

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2013 @ 1:22am

    If you allow your agencies to spy without real oversight on anyone outside of your country, you allow them to spy without real oversight on anyone within it. Of course they will be working together (last time I checked we were allies).

    As someone from the Netherlands, I have been quite annoyed about how much of the rage wasn't the warrantless spying in itself, but the warrantless spying on own citizens, as if the distinction matters. As if that's even possible on the Internet.

    One thing that also occurred to me while I saw Opstelten on the news here, explaining that he wasn't going to tell anyone how our intelligence agency did its work, is that he does in fact realize why privacy is important. He just gives it to the wrong people.

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