It was 1914, there was a world war being fought, and a clever man thought he had found a way to smuggle a horse.
In that year, exporting horses from Azewijn, in the neutral Netherlands, to warring Germany was illegal. As local newspaper De Graafschap-bode told the story at the time:
L. Lueb, 32 years of age and farmer in Klein Netterden (Germany) is being tried for exporting a horse on 7 September 1914 from the municipality of Bergh across the border at Klein Netterden, by pulling said animal through the water of said canal towards the place from which he was pulling whilst standing on the German side of the border canal while the horse was on the other side of said canal, with clear intent and by means of a rope tied around the neck of said horse.
People used so many words in those days…
The courts could just smell that Mr Lueb was guilty, but legally, a whiff is not enough. A law needs to be found by which to convict a person. But more than that, they had to agree they had jurisdiction. The law rarely determines that somebody can be tried for something they did in another country.
The result was that the case ended up before the Dutch supreme court.
The original court held that not the location of the perpetrator, but rather the ‘exportable object’ determined the location of the crime, Haal Je Recht writes.
The appeals court disagreed and came up with a post-human solution: the rope is an extension of the arm, and the arm was on Dutch soil at the time of the crime. The Dutch supreme court reworded the verdict, but came pretty much to the same conclusion: one can use an instrument to act in a different place from where one currently is.
In our current day and age, it has become much easier to use an instrument to act in a different place. The supreme court referenced the Case of the Horse of Azewijn as recent as last year when it convicted skimmers who had tried to plunder Dutch bank accounts from an ATM in Milan, Italy.
In 1915, Mr Lueb was convicted to a prison sentence of three months. What happened to the horse, I don’t know.
Photo of he German – Dutch border canal near Netterden by Pieter Delicaat, some rights reserved.
Tags: Achterhoek, crimes, Gelderland, horses, Internet, jurisdiction, law, skimming, smuggling, World War I
Banks like ING, ABN Amro and Rabobank refuse to fit their ATMs with special anti-skimming devices that have proven successful on ticket vending machines, Webwereld reported last Wednesday.
This despite the fact that, according to the same publication, skimming is still very much a problem in the Netherlands. In January the police caught a Romanian gang of skimmers that stole from the bank accounts of thousands of people.
Dutch Rail and Amsterdam’s public transport company GVB claim that since they introduced the so-called anti-skimming hook, their ticket vending machines have no longer been misused by skimmers.
The hook lets you insert your bank or credit card. If skimmers manage to remove the hook, the entire machine shuts down.
ING and Rabobank claim that they employ their own anti-skimming technology, ABN Amro says that it isn’t easy to fit existing machines with the hooks. Bank cards both chips and magnetic strips on them, the latter being susceptible to misuse. Banks have started a campaign to encourage consumers to use the chip rather than the magnetic strip. The latter cannot fully be replaced, as magnetic strips are still required in countries like the USA which have yet to adopt the chip-based technology.
(Photo of an anti-skimming hook discovered during a police raid, by Politie Haaglanden)
Tags: ABN Amro, ATMs, bank cards, banks, crime, Dutch Rail, ING, Rabobank, Romania, skimming, theft
Last December, Paul Wiegmans from Alkmaar discovered an ATM skimming device (Dutch) attached to an NS ticket vending machine (Nederlandse Spoorwegen, i.e. Dutch railways). Being a hacker, he pulled the device loose and photographed it extensively before turning it in to the police. Marvel at the diminutive size of these things!
The Nederlandse Bank estimates that skimming at train stations and banks results in ten million euro in damages per year, reports Algemeen Dagblad (Dutch). The NS told the same daily that approximately two skimming accidents occur per day at its train stations. That’s a rather small amount compared to the number of ATM transactions taking place per day there—200,000.
Update: Meanwhile, Salima Douhou and Jan Magnus of the University of Tilburg claim that skimming would become almost impossible if banks incorporated code that would verify the way people type their PIN codes, reports De Telegraaf (Dutch). Apparently, nobody does that quite the same way, making your punch as distinct as your signature. The article unfortunately doesn’t mention what the percentage of false positives is with this method, and calls the method “almost unhackable”, which in this reality means the same as positively hackable.
(Photo: Paul Wiegmans.)
Tags: banking, crime, Dutch railways, hackers, hacking, money, skimming