Dutch tech journalist and author Daniël Verlaan, who recently hacked the lights on Rotterdam’s Erasmus Bridge, has now crashed an online secret meeting of the European Ministers of Defence.
Verlaan popped in and people started laughing. The President of the Council, Spain’s Josep Borrell Fontelles, said “Somebody has gone into the system! Who are you?” The President made a crack to the meeting participants about ‘having to invest in secrecy’, which is spot on. Verlaan said hello, identified himself as a Dutch journalist, said sorry, and quickly left.
Before he left, he was told “You know that you have been jumping into a secret conference?” (sic) […] It’s a criminal offence!” said Fontelles.
How did Verlaan do it? Dutch Minister of Defence Ank Bijleveld had posted a picture on Twitter where five digits out of the six digits of the meeting login code was visible, and the last one was found ‘in just a few tries’. Apparently, there wasn’t any additional security, either.
The meeting was then stopped because it was no longer confidential. Cue a good rant about online security.
Tags: cybersecurity, Daniël Verlaan, European Union, meetings, passwords, secrecy
According to DutchNews, The Netherlands has called on EU member states to try and change American tax laws that affect thousands of Dutch people who have the American nationality, but have nothing to do with the United States otherwise.
State Secretary of Finance Menno Snel, who has been slammed in court for illegally stopping child support from Dutch residents and migrants with an ethnic background (in Dutch), mentioned that The Netherlands has raised the issue in a European context, while Prime Minister Mark Rutte also brought it up in a recent visit to the United States.
If more European countries came together to make this demand to the Americans, maybe something could change. If the United States can make money messing up the lives of Americans abroad, they don’t have much of an incentive to stop in this current political climate.
I know Dutch friends born in the United States who are struggling with this ruling, having little or nothing to do with the United States in their lives. And then there’s that one friend who gave up being American altogether and is now a full fledged Dutch citizen, free of nonsense from the American tax office.
Tags: America, European Union, tax, tax law, United States
As of this month and until the end of June 2016, The Netherlands will hold the presidency of the European Union. The lucky Dutch government is said to be working on “migration and international security, sound finances and a robust eurozone, Europe as an innovator and job creator and forward-looking climate and energy policy”, which sounds like a long wish list. In reality, they’re stuck with the refugee crisis and negotiating concessions to keep the UK in the EU.
Amsterdam firm DUS Architects has created the Mobile Europe Building made from 3D-printed bioplastic and a tensile fabric structure in order to create “a sculptural façade” for the building where serious EU meetings will take place, located in the marine area downtown. It has a ship and water theme to it as well – how very Dutch. Although built to host the Dutch presidency meetings, it will move onto Slovakia for the second half of the year as its name implies.
(Link and photo: www.dezeen.com)
Tags: 3D, Amsterdam, European Union
Are the Dutch goody two-shoes or do they merely possess a strong sense of civic duty? I’ll leave that for our readers to decide.
According to Z24 last Thursday the Dutch and the Fins are the best at paying their value added tax (VAT).
The European Commission compared the expected VAT with the VAT that was actually collected in 26 Member States in 2012. Finland and the Netherlands had a VAT gap of 5%, closely followed by Luxembourg at 6%. Romania had the largest gap at 44%. The average VAT gap for the European Union was 16% which translates to an estimated 177 billion euro in lost tax revenue. This lost revenue is borne by the governments and by the entrepreneurs who actually do pay VAT.
The way VAT works is that it is collected for the government by the businesses at the point of sale. It is a consumer tax, so businesses get to deduct the VAT they themselves paid from the money they send to the government.
Tags: btw, consumers, European Union, Finland, fraud, taxes, VAT