May 4, 2010

Television sets stolen from prison

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 10:54 am

Last month, unknown burglars stole televisions sets from prison cells in Hoorn — twice. The prisoners of Het Keern were on leave, and the second time around the burglars seem to have disabled the alarm.

The justice department suspects an inside job, Telegraaf writes.

Het Keern is a low security prison for inmates who are about to be released.

(Photo by Ken Mayer, some rights reserved)

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October 27, 2009

Burglar claims his privacy was violated

Filed under: Weird by Branko Collin @ 8:57 am

The Dutch Union of Criminals — I kid you not — has complained to the national ombudsman that the police of Drenthe have violated a young burglar’s privacy by posting a video of the criminal at work.

A spokesperson for the Civil Committee against Injustice cried: “This is a joke, right?!”

Internet lawyer Arnoud Engelfriet doesn’t give the union a snowball’s chance in hell: “The police have put the film online to track down the suspect, which is legal according to Article 22 of the Dutch copyright code, the part that deals with portrait rights.”

Family of the 88-year-old real victim had installed cameras in the home after she had been robbed a number of times.

A famous former member of the Union of Criminals is former justice minister Rita Verdonk. The union aims to protect prisoners, former prisoners and suspects against unfair practices of the state.

(Photo: a still from the video.)

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September 19, 2009

Lock picking increasingly popular hobby

Filed under: Sports,Technology by Branko Collin @ 10:49 am

The New York Times has an article (behind a pay-wall) about lock picking as a hobby almost exclusive to Germany and the Netherlands, and about Toool, The Open Organization of Lockpickers, which …

[…] is dedicated to picking locks for fun. The movement has been growing over the last five years, with a chapter now in Eindhoven, in the east of the country, and foreign branches in several places, including Germany and the United States.

[…] Its members see lock picking as a sport and organize annual competitions, a sort of Olympics of lock picking, at which entrants compete in various categories — padlocks, mechanical locks and freestyle, in which contestants confront a variety of locks with any tools they choose, as long as they do not damage the lock. The next tournament will be held in May in Istanbul.

At the hacker camps I attended the past 12 years, there always was a lock picking tent (where for some reason you had to take your shoes off, as if visiting a temple or Canadians), but I never imagined that what they were doing there was such a local hobby. According to the NYT, lock picking as a sport was invented by Steffen Wernéry of Germany, who in 1997 started the Sportsfreunde der Sperrtechnik club. The difference between the Dutch and German lock pickers is apparently that the former, in good security tradition, share their secrets with the lock makers.

(Photo of Kevin Mitnick‘s business card by Nathan Yergler, some rights reserved.)

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