Big surge in telephone taps and secret house searches by Belgian spooks

Belgian intelligence services have employed a record number of phone taps, observations and secret house searches in order to track down extremists and spies. The number of “special” intelligence methods used rose by over a quarter compared to 2017 figures.

 

The figures are contained in the annual report of the intelligence service watchdog Committee I. Compared with 2013 the number of special intelligence methods is up a full eighty percent.

In 2018 2,445 special intelligence methods were employed by the Belgian secret services.  Listening in to phone conversations, secretly looking at emails, opening letters, setting up secret camera observation and searching homes all fall under special intelligence methods. In 2013 the method was only used 1923 times.

It’s above all the secret service that is responsible for the rise.  Last year on average the secret service made 19 requests to telecom operators to find out who was using a particular telephone or computer.  The figure is up by half in only a year. The most intrusive special intelligence methods were used to track down terrorists and radicalisation.