Dutch Press Review Monday 10 October 2011

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at https://www.rnw.org/about-rnw-media.

This morning's Dutch dailies gleefully report that dozens of municipal websites were shut down over the weekend after their security was breached. A Dutch lawyer urges the legalisation of a minor form of female genital mutilation, there's turmoil among Dutch gymnasts, the pee bag has embarrassed Dutch Railways and it's cool to be a nerd. [media:factfile]

Security breached
"Dozens of public websites are as leaky as a sieve," trumpets AD and reports that dozens of Dutch municipalities shut down their websites at the weekend after IT website Webwereld revealed that their security was "child’s play to hack." Webwereld told the paper that this weekend’s revelations won't be the only ones coming this 'Leaktober'. The paper says the internet specialists at Webwereld were able to access confidential information including unemployment benefits and could have erased everything if they had wanted to.

Earlier this month, Webwereld announced they would be revealing one leaky website a day throughout the month to highlight poor security at government websites.

The revelations prompted the Association of Dutch Municipalities (VNG) to advise the 50 'leaky' municipalities to pull the plug on their sites. Most municipalities followed the VNG's advice, although a spokesperson for the town of bills claimed "there's nothing wrong with the security at our website."

De Telegraaf sighs that this weekend’s revelations were just "another chapter in the seemingly endless series of security failures at government internet sites," and adds that parliament is "fed up with the situation." The paper reports that D66 MP Wassila Hachchi has called for the government to employ hackers to attempt to penetrate government websites before they are launched.

Female circumcision
AD reports that the Dutch Physicians Association and women's organisations have been angered by a lawyer urging the Dutch government to legalise a 'minor form of female circumcision'. Wouter Limborgh's doctoral thesis, presented at Erasmus University recently, called on the government to legalise a 'minor' form of female circumcision because "cultural freedom should take precedence."

AD writes that female circumcision is banned in the Netherlands and for good reason; a spokesperson for the Dutch Physicians Association tells the paper, "all forms of unnecessary surgery on children violates their rights."

Marlies Bosch of the Gynaecological Patients Association says, "It’s ridiculous, circumcision is torture, plain and simple."

Turmoil among Dutch gymnasts
Several papers report on the disastrous performance by the Dutch gymnastic team at the World Cup in Tokyo. De Volkskrant writes that the coach has "lost control over the team and pommel horse specialist Geoffrey Wammes fell off twice." The paper says the team's performances have far-reaching consequences and could affect their chances of going to the 2012 Olympics in London. The men's team scored 7.7 points lower than in Rotterdam a year ago and that isn't high enough to qualify for the Olympics. Coach Sadao Hamada fumed, "we came here with a team but we didn't work as a team."

De Telegraaf writes that the coach didn’t have a good word for Wammes’ performance and the team's chance of getting to next year's Olympics is almost nil. Coach Hamada tells the paper, "I am especially disappointed by this team; they don't work as a unit, but as individuals who put their own needs above everything else."

Pee-bag embarrasses Dutch Railways
"We look like idiots," complains Dutch Railways (NS) director Ingrid Thijssen in an interview with De Telegraaf in the wake of worldwide coverage of the company's plans to let passengers pee into a bag in the conductors’ compartment because there are no toilets on some of the NS trains.

Last week, confidential plans to introduce a pee bag on some trains were leaked to the media and news organisations across the world have used a story to make fun of the NS. She tells the paper that the company has been embarrassed by the leak of confidential information and "we've become a laughing stock and it has been difficult for everyone working for the NS."

The paper also reports that the company appears to have back-tracked and passengers on trains lacking adequate facilities will no longer be given a pee bag and told to go and 'do their business' in the driver's cabin. Train drivers were none too happy about the idea of working between the pee-spatters and Director Thijssen now says it is unacceptable for passengers to urinate in the driver's compartment because "it's a working area."

Cool to be a nerd
Trouw covers the Night of the Nerds at Amsterdam's Nemo Science Museum; it's an evening for youngsters between 16 and 20 who are interested in science and technology and featured range of workshops including chemical cooking and creating 3D games.

The paper writes that being a nerd won't exile you to social Siberia any more: trend watcher Ron Simon tells Trouw that being a nerd has been hip for the last two years and companies such as Apple and the late Steve Jobs played a big part in it. "Nerds are also seen as entrepreneurs that can make lots of money really quickly and that has done a lot to improve the nerdy image. Teenagers think they can be the next Steve Jobs and traditional nerd subjects such as computers have become hip conversation topics."