The treasure-trove of documents leaked by former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden, continue to make startling revelations. One of these documents says that Dutch Secret Service, AIVD, hacks internet forums to gather data.
Like NSA, AIVD does not specify a user or has a specific reason to monitor a user – rather, the agency gathers the data of a huge number of people indiscriminately and then sifts through it. According to Snowden documents, AIVD makes use of a special technology called ‘Computer Network Exploitation‘ (CNE) to hack into online forums.
The Dutch law allows the secret service to hack into the computer of an individual or an organization which is under suspicion. However, the use of CNE falls into neither category and as such, is a clear violation of Dutch laws. This has been confirmed by legal experts in the country.
The document in question states that NSA and AIVD met and discussed cyber surveillance on February 14, 2013. During this meeting, AIVD revealed the existence of CNE, citing how it used the technology to gather MySQL databases of different forums.
As a result of the publication of the aforementioned document, Dutch members of parliament have demanded an inquiry into the conduct of secret services. These MPs have cited their concerns over the methods used by intelligence agencies in gathering data about the citizens. The Dutch government has refused to comment on the issue, confining itself to a one-liner defending the illegal actions of the intelligence services.