Secret services and the democratic rule of law

Constitutional and administrative law / Basic rights

Secret services and the democratic rule of law

(full text only available in Dutch)


On the eve of the advisory referendum on the new Intelligence and Security Services Act (Wiv) on 21 March 2018, Judicial explorations publishes a special issue on 'Secret services and the democratic rule of law'. An important issue in the public discussion about the 'drag law' or 'interception law' is the power to 'unfocused tapping', i.e. the interception of communication traffic that runs via fiber optic cables, and the consequences of the use of that means for the citizen. There is ample attention for this discussion in this episode, but the many other aspects of the Wiv 2017 are also discussed, such as the supervision, the precise tasks and obligations that the services receive and the international cooperation. The position of secret services and their relation to politics and society is historically highlighted and linked to the question of what can be expected of intelligence and security services in this time. Various contributions hightlight te fact that Dutch AIVD and MIVD and their predecessors have long been imprisoned in image formation. Traditionally secret activities do not relate well to publicity and participation in public debate. But the lack of information about the method and powers of the Dutch secret services contributed to the popularity of a metaphor as a 'dragnet' and fed the mistrust of citizens towards the government.

Publication data

Place of publication:
The Hague
Boom juridisch
Year of publication:
Justitiƫle verkenningen 2018/01