In May last year an appeals court in Arnhem has upheld a murder verdict on the basis of the contents of the suspect’s browser history.
The court noted (PDF) that the suspect had been searching the Internet, mainly using Google, for amongst others ‘revolver’, ‘pistol’, ‘corpse delivery’ and ‘definition shot in the neck’.
In order to determine under Dutch law whether something is murder or manslaughter, the court must decided if the suspect acted with premeditation. “Following a plan that leads to the death of the victim”, the court writes, “counts as such. The court believes that lawful and convincing evidence exists that this is what the suspect did. He acquired a fire arm, found out how to use it, has looked for ways to make a corpse disappear, has searched on the internet for words like ‘death’ and ‘bullet through the head’ and has contacted the victim shortly before the latter disappeared.”
The suspect was convicted to 18 years imprisonment.
Webwereld reports that its sister publication Computerwereld and two scientists of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam have made an inventory of the cases in which the browser history of the suspect made the difference between a murder and a manslaughter verdict. They found at least five such cases. According to Webwereld, this difference can lead to 8 years more gaol time. Suspects searched for phrases like ‘murder without evidence’ and ‘getting away with murder’—oh, the irony.
Decision-maker Clemens Cornielje has told candidates for the mayorship of Arnhem ‘not to Google the names of the other possible candidates’ during the application period. Cornielje believes that searching on the Internet using the names of candidates as search words will leave traces behind and comprise the confidential nature of the process.
Hello? First thing the candidates did was in fact google the lot apparently. Cornielje claims to be the only one with the right information, which is why googling is a bad idea [insert Dutch finger wagging image here].
Point of clarification: Dutch mayors are not elected, they are appointed by bright lights like this guy. While some politicians and citizens find appointing mayors backwards, most people don’t care and so it stays the undemocratic process that it is because when they did try elections a few times, it went sour.
First of all, telling people not to do something (Mr Cornielje, do you have children?) is a surefire way to get them to do it. Secondly, appealing to people’s moral sense when it comes to the Internet is the worst thing you could ever do. If we listened to people who preach morality to others, but often don’t follow it themselves, then porn, downloading music and the likes would all be magically gone. And unicorns with rainbow capes would run wild and free, throwing sweets that don’t damage teeth to cute, well-behaved children.
It’s embarrassing that ignorant people have the right to make important decisions. Good luck, Arnhem.
Yet another Dutch Facebook page has recently made its online entrance, and this time it’s roughly called ‘No king without a beard’ (‘Zonder baard, geen koning’).
Crown-Prince Willem-Alexander soon to be the country’s first king since 1890, will be the only one without a beard if he doesn’t grow one soon.
Besides the fact that beards were trendy for Dutch kings in the 19th century and the fact that beards are totally in at the moment, the photoshopped picture of Willem-Alexander with a beard is quite flattering as it slims down his pudgy face. At 100,000 likes, the page admins will present the RVD (Netherlands Government Information Service) with an official request for the future king to grow a beard.
Amusingly enough Tsar Peter I (aka Peter The Great) of Russia in an attempt to force Russian men to look more European imposed a beard tax in the late 17th, early 18th century: “Peter’s visits to the West (which included the Netherlands) impressed upon him the notion that European customs were often superior to Russian ones. He commanded courtiers and officials to cut off their long beards and wear European clothing. The men who sought to retain their beards were required to pay an annual beard tax of one hundred rubles.”
Mustaches were OK though and it seems that trends change from one century to the next.
UPDATE: Beard tokens, based on the one carried by beard tax payers, are in and you can buy them online (tip: TheBloodTheSweatTheBeards). The Russian inscription ‘деньги взяты’ literally means ‘money has been taken’, and the letter ‘я’, (‘ya’), the backwards ‘R’ but with an extra leg on this medallion was in fact turned into the backwards ‘R’ when Peter The Great reformed the alphabet in 1917-1918.
After weeks of debating the ‘Zwarte Piet’ tradition during Sinterklaas, which involves blackface considered a tradition here but racist abroad, a steady number of Dutch people on Facebook are now pissed off at the Pope.
The Pope’s famous Dutch saying, “bedankt voor de bloemen” (“thanks for the flowers”), is often the first thing that pops to mind if you mention the Pope to a Dutch person. The Facebook page Geen bloemen naar de Paus (‘No flowers for the Pope’) wants to stop sending flowers to the Pope at Easter and is venting its anger at the Pope’s heteronormative Christmas speech, which angered Foreign Affairs Minister Frans Timmermans who lashed out in the media at the Pope’s ‘homophobia’:
“If every person is unique, as the Pope’s representative said in Dublin last week, then why should that unique person not have the right to stand up for their own sexual orientation? Marriage between two people of the same sex is having respect for the uniqueness of the individual.”
I for one will never, ever get over the amount of child abuse reported from the Catholic church since I was old enough to understand what it was.
More than 40 civil rights organisations and security experts from around the world are said to be ‘gravely concerned’ about a Dutch proposal to break into foreign computers and search and delete data. “The proposal would grant powers to the Dutch police to break into computers, including those located in other countries, in order to search and delete data and install spyware. The Dutch government argues that the new powers are required to effectively combat cybercrime in the Netherlands.”
Breaking into computers in other countries is a breach of that country’s sovereignty, not to mention crappy diplomacy. Dutch digital rights organisation Bits of Freedom is urgently calling upon the Minister of Security and Justice to withdraw his proposal, to be debated in Dutch parliament this week. Problem is, many countries are likely to follow suit. Imagine countries hacking each other back and you’ve got a subplot for an entire season of American hit TV series Homeland.
Anyone involved in politics, as well as journalists, dissidents and the likes run the risk of being hacked purely for reasons of blasphemy, homosexuality or alledged copyright infringement.
Although mobile apps for smartphones and tablets are more popular than websites and make use of the same user information to push adverts and the likes, the cookie law doesn’t apply to them. However, apps do have to comply with the personal privacy protection law, which they gladly choose to ignore. App builders know that the chance of being fined is slim, so they would rather take the risk than have to try and figure out the law, following an obvious trend.
If this isn’t a group middle finger salute to a poorly written law I don’t know what is.
This week Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum launched an online database of 125,000 high resolution masterpieces called ‘Rijksstudio’ that can be downloaded and used for free. The images are copyright-free, and the idea is that you can make your own collection of images, post them to social media, caption them, make mouse pads out of them and all kinds of other creative stuff.
Rijksstudio was royally opened by Prince Constantijn and has a localized Pinterest feel to it.
Everybody in the Netherlands still receives the paper phone guide once every year, whether they want to or not, even though in these days of Google and the Internet it is nothing but a vehicle for advertisements.
To help stop this form of harassment, a guy called Alexander Klöpping has registered a URL called sterftelefoongidssterf.nl (diephonebookdie) which redirects to the phone book cancellation form. In other words, if you want the phone book to be eliminated (‘die’) from your life, follow that link. (Actually don’t follow it, De Telefoongids are known to ignore your cancellation request anyway.)
Last Monday Klöpping received a threatening e-mail by the publishers of the phone book, a subsidiary of European Directories, that tells him he is engaged in trademark violation and that he must cease and desist.
Klöpping replied that he will take the URL offline as soon as the dead tree merchant stops shoving the equivalent of “months of advertising leaflets”, and “half a percent of all paper used in the Netherlands” through everybody’s mailboxes, including those of people that have indicated they want to receive no advertisements through the legally binding “ja-nee” and “nee-nee” stickers (yes-no and no-no).
Of course, the lawyers from European Directories would have a case if they were to argue that they don’t actually do anything with the addresses through their cancellation form, and if they could prove that Klöpping knew this. But then they’d have to argue that they are breaking the law on more than just one count and I just don’t expect them to do that.
A while back on telly and surely on the radio, the unflattering description of a bland, thirtysomething Caucasian Dutch woman included a cockatoo haircut and white capri leggings. This type of woman is often slightly overweight, middle class, and has a husband that wears old jeans and a jean jacket, drinks cheap beer and loves football.
A Dutch guy decided that he had had enough of looking at this fashion don’t and started the Facebook page Stop De Witte Driekwart Legging Nu (‘Stop white capri leggings now’) that’s getting national coverage probably because it’s summer and the white leggings have come out in full force.
White capri leggings are usually worn when it’s warm, but not warm enough to go without leggings. Unlike coloured leggings (I gladly wear long black ones), white ones make white legs look fatter and why would anyone want that? Some people call them ‘hospital legs’, as they have a nurse-like quality to them, but not in a good way. Others comment, get over yourselves, live and let live, and that there’s always overalls.
Fashion tip: wear actual capri pants (ideally not white ones), nylons or even knee high socks and skip the capri leggings. Don’t do the knee high socks thing like this either.
Filed under: Film,Online by Orangemaster @ 11:48 am
Amsterdam film company A-film has its own YouTube channel offering free, full length films online. There are some 20 films such as Alles Stroomt (Upstream), Ik Omhels Je Met Duizend Armen (A Thousand Kisses) and First Mission. Not all films are in Dutch: there are English-language films such as Bend It Like Beckham, The Promotion and Youth In Revolt (watch here below). As a comparison, competitor Ximon.nl, which has a much larger selection, offers a film like A Thousand Kisses for 3,50 euro.