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Belgian police to snoop internet lines

Published on 16/04/2004

16 April 2004

BRUSSELS – The League of Human Rights has slammed a “scandalous” move by the Belgian government to begin snooping on private email communications on the country’s high-speed internet lines.

The Computer Crime Unit of the federal Belgian police is to begin testing an Israeli system of so-called ‘e-taps’ on Belgacom high-speed internet connections on Monday, Belgian daily La Derniere Heure revealed.

They then plan to install the system, which is capable of intercepting, reading and recording email messages, across all high-speed ‘ADSL’ lines in Belgium.

“The legitimate fight against terrorism can in no way justify a practice which will see each citizen connected become liable to bugging,” said a statement published Friday by the Belgian committee of the League of Human Rights (LHR).

Belgium’s federal police authorities said the testing of the tapping system, due to last several days, will not involve private internet lines but will only be carried out on Belgacom high-speed lines within the police administration.

The LHR said it was “scandalised” by the move and “calls on the minister of the interior not to proceed with the tests of interception and recording and to definitively halt any introduction of this illegal system.”  

The eavesdropping “constitutes a flagrant violation of the right to privacy as defined by both the European Convention on Human Rights and the Belgian constitution,” the LHR added.

Belgian press reports Friday claimed that unlike phone taps, which are applied to a specific line, the snooping on high-speed internet lines would involve the filtering of all email traffic in order to intercept the targeted user.

The system, called Nice, can also moniter all internet activity on an individual  computer, including which websites he or she is visiting.

Belgacom onb Friday refused any comment on the plans.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

                        Subject: Belgian news