Immigration Department will be given access to phones of undocumented criminals
Belgian deputy prime minister and minister of Justice Vincent Van Quickenborne has a draft law ready to give the Immigration Department (DVZ) the possibility to read and analyse the mobile phone data of people without valid residence papers or identity documents who are in prison for criminal offences, such as drug crimes. This should allow their identities to be traced so that they can be deported from the country.
Since Belgian federal police managed to hack into the encrypted messaging service SKY ECC two years ago, more than 500 cases have been opened against nearly 3,000 suspects. "What struck us in the SKY ECC dossier is the problem of illegal drug criminals, of people in illegality committing drug offences," Justice minister Van Quickenborne said Thursday morning on Flemish public broadcaster VRT's Radio 1. "All major cities are facing this problem."
"Pilot projects show that if you can look into those people's mobile phones, you can effectively identify 20 to 25 per cent of them."
Belgian prisons currently hold around 3,500 people whose exact identity is not known. "We are now going to give the Immigration Department (DVZ) the possibility to search the mobile phones of those people, who are often serious drug criminals, to find out their identities." Many of these criminals intentionally keep their identities hidden, according to Van Quickenborne. "But pilot projects show that if you can look into those people's mobile phones, you can effectively identify 20 to 25 per cent of them. And that is important in order to be able to deport them."
© PHOTO LOIC VENANCE / AFP