A Dutch national newspaper, NRC, says that they have stumbled upon dozens of confidential police files in public domain that is a proof of a huge surveillance program in Netherlands. The files had information about murders, burglaries, gangs and Jihadis that are suspected to have been involved in these crimes.
The files were accessible via Google. However, they have been removed from the platform as soon as police confirmed the leak. According to the newspaper, the information from the police investigation appeared online because a relative working for the police IT department uploaded the information on a personal website. However, it is unclear why and how the information with cases of suspect monitoring and police informants has been leaked.
The article also gives an example of criminal organization’s leader and a group of teenagers believed to be traveling for a Jihad that all have been monitored and the information then being mapped for cross referencing.
The leaked information include detailed information about the suspects including their names, photos, what cellphones they favor, areas they visit, and in some cases even information at what precise time suspect left home, what cloths he was wearing, etc.
The Dutch National Department has already issued an investigation concerning the leak of confidential information to the public domain. One of their first announcements are that even though the information was accessible to public it was flagged as inactive slightly reducing the exposure of the leaked data.
A senior security analyst at Bloor Research, Fran Howarth, says that even though the leaked information is a clear proof of the scale of surveillance being performed in the country it should not surprise a lot of people since Netherlands is considered to be the most surveilled country in Europe.
According to F. Howarth, security services in Netherlands are paranoid over security making surveillance such a common thing in Netherlands. Furthermore, she also mentions that the data most likely became easily accessible due to the prevalent data sharing among government departments in Netherlands.
Due to these two facts there is two much information on citizens accessible online that is commonly shared among different agencies. F. Howarth also pointed out that the Dutch police has too much access to the daily lives of citizens through wide spread surveillance in the country.
There are open concern expressed regarding the security methodology that Dutch police uses. Most of the people opposing the system agree that the police has to ensure our well being by monitoring criminals, though the methods have to be changed since cases like this information leak expose a threat to peoples privacy when the information becomes accessible to people outside the investigation.
One of the people expressing the concern is a practice director at cyber-security, risk and compliance with OpenSky UK, Nigel Stanley. He also mentions Edward Snowden as a proof that a certain level of surveillance is required to monitor possible criminals. However, the data needs to be handled appropriately to prevent the information leak from happening again as it affects innocent people.
It should be obvious that government and others can gain information about us using various methods. However, we can prevent them from obtaining your online activity information by using VPN to encrypt your internet traffic. NordVPN’s main purpose has always been users’ privacy and thus we keep no logs to prevent your information from being leaked.