Dutch government sneaks peeks at papers


It couldn’t happen there!

Poynter Online reports that:

 “the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs accessed the online editorial system of the Geassocieerde Pers Diensten (GPD), the leading news agency of many of the provincial papers in the Netherlands . . . According to Dutch media, both spokespersons of the minister and the vice-minister have been entering GDP’s system hundreds times.”

The Poynter article says the Dutch ministry conducted its surveillance by employing “former GDP journalists who, when their passwords were disabled, obtained the password of another system user.”

What’s the lesson? Networked systems are inherently permeable to spying. There may be no security system that can’t be cracked by something as simple as an employee who loses or gives up a password. I think this is one of the downsides of the network age that we’re just going to have to live with.