Prison email service temporarily suspended due to security concerns

Due to security concerns, the Guardian Institutions Service (DJI) has decided not to use eMates, an email service for prisoners, for the time being. DJI And the Minister Weywind for legal protection. EMates handles email traffic between guests and their families and friends. They email the prison via their electronic colleagues, where the staff prints the letters and sends them to the inmates.

At the beginning of March, the Public Prosecution Office (OM) expressed its concerns about electronic companions. The first and biggest concern is the lack of contractual arrangements between DJI and eMates. There is no insight into the system and it is not known whether it meets the specific legal requirements for processing personal data. Moreover, according to the Public Prosecution Service, it is not clear whether there are safeguards against unauthorized access to that data.

There is also no insight into what information (for all detainees) is sent through this system and how eMates have access to that information and who it is, and how they deal with that information. According to the Public Prosecution Office, this applies both to information about the whereabouts of detainees, other detainees who are also in the same institution, and to the content of those messages.

Another concern is the number of messages sent via the service. The Public Prosecution indicates that it received signals indicating that dozens of messages are sent to each detainee per day, and that it understood that monitoring this is under pressure. If the number of emails is unlimited, and as is the case now, Werwind said a large number of unscreened digital messages with the outside world could happen, according to the Public Prosecution Service, this poses a significant risk of continued criminal activity inside the prison.”

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According to the Public Prosecution Office, this poses a significant risk for criminals to continue their business inside the prison. About 200,000 messages are sent via eMates each year. A letter from eMates has the same status as mail according to case law. “This means that DJI has the right to verify all communications with the outside world, except for communications with secret guards. This verification is already done, but it requires a great deal of effort,” the minister adds.

Since eMates specifically targets prisoners, according to Weerwind, there must be categorical agreements about personal data security and oversight. This concerns, for example, agreements related to licensing, registration, personnel examination and periodic auditing. In the absence of these agreements, it was decided that an independent party should urgently investigate these aspects and suspend the use of eMates during the investigation.

The minister says he understands that pausing emails is causing inconvenience to detainees and their relationships. “However, the importance of preventing the continuation of criminal activity while in detention, safety within the institution and protection of detainees’ personal data and relationships carry more weight. That is why I support DJI’s decision.”

EMates late via Twitter You know that they comply with all laws and regulations regarding the processing of personal data and confidential data is never shared. The service says it is trying to persuade the minister to change his mind, for example by means of urgent measures.

Megan Vasquez

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