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OPTA and KLPD join forces in the battle against cybercrime

On 18 September Remmert Heuff (the acting head of the Dienst Nationale Recherche [National Criminal Investigations Department]) and Chris Fonteijn (the chairman of OPTA [Independent Post and Telecommunications Authority of the Netherlands]) signed a protocol which facilitates the sharing of intelligence and expertise to combat computer crime more efficiently. Using networks of “hijacked” computers – so-called botnets – committed criminals extort money from people and are capable of stealing personal details from their computers. These networks are frequently also used to distribute spam and illegal advertising software (adware). This represents the convergence of two sectors which are monitored by Korps Landelijke Politiediensten [National Police Services Agency of the Netherlands] (in this case the High Tech Crime Team of the Dienst Nationale Recherche) and the telecommunications regulatory authority, OPTA. This is reason enough for both organisations to join forces in the battle against cybercrime. Both OPTA and KLPD (Dienst Nationale Recherche) have the power to tackle computer crime, each from its own vantage point, OPTA based on the Telecommunications Act [Telecommunicatiewet] in an attempt to protect those consumers who use electronic communications services, and KLPD on the basis of the Criminal Code to track down and prosecute serious, organised crime. Neither body is simply allowed to share information about ongoing investigations. However, this protocol makes this possible. As such, any information that is shared can also be used as legally admissible evidence in actual investigations. Cybercrime will be combated more efficiently thanks to this collaboration. It is necessary that this be done ever more firmly because of the growing threat posed to security on the Internet by malware and because of the economic importance of a properly functioning Internet. Nature of the protocol The protocol includes arrangements for the coordination, collaboration and the sharing of information as part of investigations. KLPD and OPTA also intend to develop and share their expertise. The protocol also includes arrangements concerning the conditions subject to which information may be shared, how to act where there is an overlap of jurisdiction, and the non-disclosure and security of information.