Dutch military intelligence seeks young digital 'spies'

Dutch military intelligence seeks young digital ‘spies’

The Dutch military intelligence service MIVD is trying to recruit a new generation of internet specialists to improve its weapons against digital threats from Russia and China, Trouw said on Tuesday. The service would ideally bring in 14 and 15-year-olds but this is, of course, impossible, director Onno Eichelsheim told the paper. ‘I am looking for the young generation. They are totally used to dealing with digital resources,’ he said. ‘For example, to gain more insight into new threats, I need people who can build algorithms to filter mass amounts internet data.’ However, too few people are being educated as internet specialists in the Netherlands, he said. And talented youngsters are more likely to pick a well paid job in the corporate sector. ‘We are looking for people with an orange heart,’ he said. ‘And of course, you can do things on internet for us which you are banned from doing as an ordinary citizen.’ The MIVD is beginning an internet recruitment campaign in the spring.  More >

AD: avatar Eva could interview refugees

Virtual case worker Eva could interview refugees in future A virtual case worker called Eva could interview potential asylum seekers in the future, reports the AD on Tuesday. The multi-lingual avatar is being developed by a Gelderland-based company called Virtask which – its director told DutchNews.nl – has been talking with the IND immigration service about how it could help speed up processes. Zutphen municipality, also in Gelderland, is about to begin trials of the program at its asylum seekers’ centre. Further trials will follow in Alkmaar. The Zutphen council in the east of the Netherlands has already funded fifty 'sisters' of Eve, called Anne, to support carers of people with conditions including dementia by performing routine tasks like scheduling appointments or adjusting the temperature. It would potentially use the new program to question refugees who already have permission to stay in the Netherlands on their education and experience prior to placing them in a home. Currently, refugees are questioned on arrival by several people in the IND, which generally involves two case workers plus a translator and takes several hours. Virtask’s product could apparently speed up and simplify this process, and also store and process information immediately. Annemarie Johannes, director of Virtask, believes Eve’s language abilities could be especially useful in interviewing refugees who have just arrived in the Netherlands. She told DutchNews.nl: 'I'm very happy that we can start with trials. The idea is to see if it can be quicker, save money and staff. Zutphen will use it with people who already have permission to stay to find out what they want to do and can do. 'We had created Anne for consumers, older people or those with disabilities, and came up with the idea of Eva for refugees. We aren't screening people: it is a registration, so Eva can't conclude that someone is lying.' She added that they chose a blonde, blue-eyed woman to meet expectations of Dutch natives but went for an older, sterner look. 'Anne is pretty, and people like to look at her but we did a few tests and refugees wanted a sense of peace and a serious, older lady.' A spokesman for the ministry of social affairs and employment told the AD: 'In principle, the current manner screening takes place is satisfactory, although labour-intensive. We are following the developments around Eva.' The Virtask website explains that the 2D assistant Anne has various helpful qualities in stressful situations. 'Anne never feels uncertain or apprehensive about her job,' it says.  More >

Dutch smart phone market 'saturated'

Dutch military intelligence seeks young digital ‘spies’ The Dutch market for smart phones, tablets and e-readers is 'fully saturated' and almost everyone who wishes to own one or more of the devices does so, market research group GfK said on Thursday. Some 83% of the over 12s now have a smart phone, while 67% have a tablet and 25% an e-reader. The interest in smart televisions and watches is also virtually unchanged, GfK said. The number of smart phones and tablets in Dutch households doubled over the past five years but scarcely rose in 2016. In terms of social media, Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest show the most growth.  Some 72% use Facebook, unchanged from 2015 but fewer people are visiting Twitter, GfK said.   More >

Cisco sees NL as digital role model

Dutch military intelligence seeks young digital ‘spies’ US-based IT company Cisco is working on a programme to speed up the Dutch digital economy, the Financieele Dagblad reported on Thursday. Cisco chairman John Chambers is to discuss the subject with Dutch premier Mark Rutte at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos on Thursday, the paper added. Cisco already has similar programmes up and running in several other European countries including France and the UK. Chambers said the Netherlands has a good chance to become the role model for smaller counties, not only in Europe but in the rest of the world. Cisco is a multinational technology conglomerate headquartered in San José, California and develops, manufactures, and sells networking hardware, telecommunications equipment, and other high-technology services and products. Cisco hopes to obtain a serious share of the business resulting from helping to increase the size of the Dutch digital economy. This could lead to increased sales of its routers and switches which regulate internet traffic, the FD said. Investment Although no amount has been placed on its future investment in the Netherlands, the plans call for an expansion of the Cisco network academy which provides free training for Dutch educational institutions. In addition, Cisco has $2bn available for start-ups in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Philip Kirk, who is in charge of the start-up programme, earlier said that there are already several good candidates including TradeCast of Zwolle which makes interactive online TV channels possible and Clear Flight Solutions which develops robots designed to clear birds away from airports. Other possible Cisco projects in the Netherlands are smarter transport and cybersecurity. Kirk added. Cisco already has a large presence here, employing about 1,200 people.  More >

Amsterdam internet exchange security plea

Dutch military intelligence seeks young digital ‘spies’ The Amsterdam internet exchange AMS-IX, the largest of its kind in the world, is recommending tighter security on the networks of its 800 members, the Financieele Dagblad said on Wednesday. 'Every country with a good internet infrastructure is vulnerable,' said AMS-IX (which is pronounced Amsix) director Henk Steenman. 'The difference is the Netherlands has a large concentration of internet companies. And this is constantly growing. Look at the recent investments of Google and Microsoft,' he said. Steenman said that all the servers in the area formed a significant target for hackers  as internet traffic through Amsterdam increased by 30% in 2016. The internet economy is of great significance to the Dutch economy, ranked alongside Rotterdam seaport and Schiphol airport. The AMS-IX director said he feels the Dutch government should place more demands on suppliers of software, apps and computers to improve internet security.   More >