October 8, 2012

Governments mislead citizens into sending digital information to wrong address

Filed under: Technology by Branko Collin @ 12:01 pm

The Dutch national government has put a lot of work into its digital identification system, as DigID is pretty much obligatory for most people these days. For instance, most people cannot file tax returns without one.

However, the government would not be the government if it had not found ways to mess up its own system. The latest howler is reported by WebWereld which writes that a lot of municipalities refer citizens to an ad agency called Digi-D (note the hyphen).

The ad agency existed before the government came up with the name DigiD. The agency claims it has already received sensitive data from 10,000 mistaken citizens, and it has tried to get the government to mend its ways, so far to no avail. Being an ad agency they have now started a campaign to do what the government should have done in the first place, namely point citizens to the right address. The slogan: ‘be careful with your DigiD!’

WebWereld lists several official government documents that refer citizens to the wrong organisation.

Apparently local governments have a checklist that tells them to pay attention to the correct spelling of the name DigiD, among other things.

(Photo by Mystic Mabel, some rights reserved)

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September 11, 2009

HEMA ready for end-of-Ramadan feast

Filed under: Dutch first by Branko Collin @ 8:33 am

This is an ad aimed at people celebrating Eid ul-Fitr (known in Dutch as Suikerfeest), a feast that marks the end of the Ramadan (the Muslim fast), which appeared this week in the brochure of HEMA, a large and popular Dutch chain store.

I have never seen this type of advertising before, where a Dutch mainstream brand specifically addresses 5% of the population who are part of an Islamic culture, but what do I know? The commenters at Wij Blijven Hier, where I found this story (Dutch), seem to confirm my guess that this is a new thing though.

A couple of years ago, new media organisation Mediamatic.net tried to merge the HEMA with the Islamic design aesthetic in a project called El HEMA. The real HEMA first frowned at this clear misuse of their brand, but they soon turned around, even offering to take place in the jury of the related design contest. A commenter at Mediamatic’s site makes clear the importance of HEMA in defining and contrasting what we perceive of Dutch culture:

You enter a space where you cannot read a single letter, and yet you think: what do you know, I am at the HEMA. And even though you cannot read the price tags, you are sure the products cannot be expensive. After all, you are at the HEMA.

Related: HEMA essential brand, followed by 8 o’clock news.

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October 12, 2008

Gay Frenchman fought the law and helped change it

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 2:18 pm

A few months ago I wrote the following article on the Amsterdam Weekly blog about a French homosexual having his nationality revoked for marrying a Dutchman:

“Frédéric used to be French, but because he married a Dutchman, the French Embassy forced him to give up his French nationality. The French consulate revoked his nationality because they did not want to recognise his marriage when he also acquired the Dutch nationality. According to an agreement between France and the Netherlands, anyone who opts for the nationality of the other country automatically loses their original nationality, unless they are married to a person of the other nationality, in which case dual citizenship is automatically awarded.

The consulate declared Frédéric unmarried and wants him to hand in his passport, ID card and has told him he is banned from voting. Frédéric, very much attached to his home country, is terribly upset.

Tanguy Le Breton, the official representative of the French community in the Netherlands, calls this “blatant discrimination”. “It’s obvious that the French authorities discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. In this case, the discrimination is symbolically terrible because we are depriving homosexuals of their nationality. It is about time to start a debate on the issue and put an end to this discrimination.”

Frédéric is French again

This summer Frédéric got his French nationality back thanks to the efforts of people like French gay Amsterdam politician and author Laurent Chambon who spread the news and got things moving. The entire “reintegration process” took a speedy two months and was aided by a high Sarkozy cabinet official, Emmanuelle Mignon. Frédéric still had to show his birth certificate, national ID cards (1995 and 2004) his passport, proof he had become Dutch in 2006, and proof he kept ties with France by being registered with the consulate in Amsterdam.

What happened to Frédéric will probably never happen again to any French person in the Netherlands, as the law will change as of March 2009. Any French person marrying a Dutch person will not have their French nationality automatically revoked.

(Link: laurentchambon.blogspot.com (in French))

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