Dutch Intelligence Suspected of Using Unauthorised Random Interception of Email Traffic

Intelligence agency blocks technological exchange and co-operation between Dutch and Iranian company

The Dutch daily revealed on Monday that the Dutch Intelligence Agency BVD has intercepted the email correspondence between a Dutch and an Iranian company.

The Dutch company, specialised in industrial automatic processing, sent last year on request compact discs with software to an Iranian company. The software was designed to run special computers for water purification equipment. The Dutch company also informed the Iranians by email about other technological matters.

In September 1999, the BVD visited the Dutch company and told them to stop the transactions, because the Iranian company was concerned with the installation of nuclear plants. The agent of the BVD told the Dutch company it had been screening their email-traffic and that the BVD was searching email correspondence on key words like 'water purification', 'Iran', and 'Programmable Logical Controllers' - which is the technique the Iranian company was interested in.

This means probably the BVD is already intercepting at random email-traffic and satellite communications and search them with keywords. The BVD does not have the powers to do this yet. Dutch Parliament still has to discuss a proposed Bill, in which the BVD is given the power to intercept and scan all communications at random.

The Dutch intelligence refused to give any comment on the revelations, nor did it want to tell if they had asked for a specific permission to intercept the email correspondence.

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