from the clear-as-mud dept
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.Some pretty dramatic claims are being made:
Dutch security service AIVD has also received information on email and social media traffic via US spy system PRISM, the Telegraaf reports on Tuesday.
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.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.
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.
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.