ICT in the context of criminal procedure: The Netherlands

The aim of this report is to analyze (aspects of) the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the context of Dutch criminal procedure. The questionnaire underlying this report generally deals with cyber crime. ‘Cyber crime’ is understood to cover criminal conduct that affects interests associated with the use of ICT, such as the proper functioning of computer systems and the internet, the privacy and integrity of data stored or transferred in or through ICT, or the virtual identity of internet users. The common denominator and characteristic feature of all cyber crime offences and cyber crime investigation can be found in their relation to computer systems, computer networks and computer data on the one hand and to cyber systems, cyber networks and cyber data on the other hand. Cyber crime covers offences concerning traditional computers as well as cloud cyber space and cyber databases. Although the background of the questionnaire is related to cyber crime as a topic of substantive criminal law, it would not be expedient to narrow the focus of this report to the (legal) aspects of ICT in the context of criminal procedure insofar as it deals with specifically this type of crime. ICT (in the context of criminal procedure) is too broad a phenomenon to limit this report to cyber crime.

The use of ICT in criminal procedure in order to tackle criminal offences can take various forms. Investigation in criminals’ computers will be made possible but, for instance, the interception of telecommunication, the access to a DNA-database and the use of ANPRsystems can be brought under the broad description of ICT too. Anno 2013, one has to conclude that not many aspects of criminal procedure are imaginable which are not to some extent connected to ICT. From this point of view, writing a report about the use of ICT in criminal procedure might basically come down to writing a report about criminal procedure itself. Since this could not reasonably be the aim of a national report on this topic, the questionnaire was followed strictly, in which the use of ICT in criminal procedure is somewhat narrowed down.

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