House of Representatives passes Computer Criminality III Bill

The legislative proposal increasing the powers to investigate and prosecute computer criminality, submitted by State Secretary Dijkhoff (Security and Justice), was passed by the House of Representatives today. The new regulation is a response to the rapid development of technology and the Internet. Investigative officers increasingly often are hampered in the performance of their work due to electronic information being encrypted. Internet users can even transport data anonymously through certain services. This plays into the hands of criminals.

The new regulation will allow the police and the justice system to investigate computers in secret and remotely. These powers cover personal computers, mobile telephones and servers and allow investigative officers to make use of various actions when investigating serious offences. They will be able to copy data or make them inaccessible, but also to intercept or observe communications.
All investigative actions need to be authorised by an examining judge and this authorisation needs to be applied for by the public prosecutor. In addition, the use of these powers will be assessed by the Central Assessment Committee, an advisory body of the Public Prosecution Service.
Minors and children will be better protected. The use of decoy minors to help investigate and prosecute so-called "groomers" - persons who approach minors online for reasons of a sexual nature - will become possible. Rogue sellers who repeatedly offer goods or services on the Internet but fail to supply them can be prosecuted under the new regulation.
In addition, the handling of stolen computer data will itself become a punishable offence. This penalisation also serves to allow the prosecution of someone possessing data belonging to others without it being proven that the former has, themselves, stolen those data.