250,000 requests to telephone database per month
'Quarter million requests for telecom users' data every month'
The CIOT (Central Telecommunications Research Information Point) is part of the Ministry of Justice and mediates between investigative, intelligence and security services and telecommunications service providers. The CIOT's information system is fed daily with data from 110 affiliated providers. Authorised government services can then request data such as name, address, place of residence, IP address, e-mail address and telephone number from the database if required for criminal proceedings, intelligence gathering or emergency assistance. They must then obtain a court order or a request from a competent investigating officer to hand over.
On a monthly basis, it receives CIOT a quarter of a million applications from investigative agencies, so told René Bladder of the organisation this week at the Ripe 58 meeting in Amsterdam. That would amount to 3 million applications a year, which is half a million more than what the Ministry of Justice is taking into account holds. The number of requests has risen sharply over the years, with 1.9 million requests lodged with the Ciot in 2007 and 1.6 million in 2006.
This data does not include requests from intelligence agencies. In 2005, for example, the CIOT received 600,000 requests for call data, but based on a statement by KPN manager Justice Interception and Monitoring, it was calculated that another 300,000 requests from intelligence and security agencies were added to that. If those figures are correct and the ratio has not changed, the total would come to 4.5 million requests this year.
Bladder does understand the increase: "The role of telecommunications services has grown so much in recent years that it is not surprising that investigative agencies are also increasingly interested." According to Bladder, by far the majority of requests are made under the Criminal Code and only a limited proportion are for emergency or life-threatening situations.
The total could rise even further in the future: on 23 June, consideration of the law on the Retention obligation Telecommunications data. If this law is passed, the investigation, intelligence and security services will be able to request data for 12 months after the date. Currently, the deadline is still 24 hours. Bladder anticipates that his organisation will have to increase storage space if the proposal is passed. However, whether the proposal will be passed is still uncertain: the Senate is critical of the bill.
Update 16.30: Addition that in addition to a court order, a requisition from an authorised investigating officer gives access to the Ciot system.