Icelandic bitcoin theft suspect arrested in Amsterdam

An Icelandic national who escaped from jail on the island at the end of last week has been arrested in Amsterdam, Dutch media said. Sindri Thor Stefansson is wanted in connection with the theft of 600 computers which were being used to mine virtual currencies, including bitcoin, in Iceland. The machines are still missing. The thefts took place at three data centres at the end of last year and Stefansson was arrested along with 10 other people in February. He was being held at a low security prison. According to Dutch media reports, Stefansson jumped out of a window at the prison and made his way to the airport where he boarded a plane for Sweden. Trips to Sweden do not require passport checks and he was travelling on a ticket made out to someone else, news agencies reported. It is unclear how he made his way to Amsterdam and police have not said how they were able to track him down. However, on Sunday he was photographed with two others in front of the Bijenkorf department store in central Amsterdam and the picture was placed on Instagram, the AD said. Stefansson send a letter to an Icelandic newspaper last week claiming he was being held in jail illegally and was planning to raise the issue at the European Court of Human Rights.   More >

KvK information used to target freelancers

Companies are using information gleaned from chamber of commerce (KvK) files to target the self-employed via Facebook, broadcaster NOS said on Wednesday. This means that small firms and the self-employed see adverts on their private Facebook pages which relate to their business interests, NOS said. Car makers Toyota and Lexus among the companies which use KvK information via a middle man advertising agency. This means, for example, a person who makes a living writing text will see a different car advert than a self-employed plumber. Health insurance company CZ and telecom company Ziggo also use KvK information to target people on Facebook, NOS said. The KvK has sold information about companies to third parties for years, using an opt out system for new firms rather than the legally-required opt-in. However, new privacy rules which come into effect on May 25 will make it more complicated for third parties to process other people's data and sharply increases the fines for firms who break the rules. The KvK said in a website statement that information its registers is public information but that it has sought a meeting with the Dutch privacy watchdog Autoriteit Persoonsgevens this week to make sure it operates legally.  More >

Privacy groups continue phone tap campaign

An alliance of privacy lobby groups and lawyers say they will take the government to court unless changes to the new law on phone and internet tapping are first discussed in parliament. The law is due to come into effect on May 1, but the lobby groups say that both houses of parliament should first have their say. The bill has already been passed in parliament but ministers agreed to make changes after last month's 'no' vote in a referendum. Although home affairs minister Kajsa Ollongren said she wanted to do justice to the result by making some changes to the new rules, critics say they are largely cosmetic. Among the changes made: the lengthy of time that 'tapped' information can be kept will be reduced from three to one year, with two extensions of one year each. In addition, the security services must now take account of the democratic rule of law in countries where they wish to exchange information. Ton Siedsma of privacy lobby group Bits of Freedom said in a press release: 'Of course you can't put a law into practice without giving parliament the opportunity to improve it. That is why we want the courts to delay implementing the law until the amendments are definitive.'  More >

VVD council hopeful is cyber peeping Tom

A potential VVD councillor in Almere has been arrested for hacking into the computer accounts of celebrities in a hunt for nude photos and videos, the Telegraaf reported on Tuesday. Mitchell van der K., who pulled out of the running to represent the VVD last month citing personal circumstances, uploaded some of the explicit material to the internet. One of his victims is vlogger Laura Ponticorvo, dozens of whose private photos and videos appeared on the internet last year, the paper writes. He also tried to hack into the computers of ex-hockey player Fatima de Moreira de Melo and other celebrities, the paper said. According to broadcaster NOS, Van der K, who headed lifestyle website Manners magazine, has admitted to hacking into iCloud accounts but denies having put the photos online. The VVD in Almere did not know until last week that the man had been the subject of a police investigation lasting several months, Nos said.  More >

10,000 heed bye bye Facebook campaign

Some 10,000 Dutch people have closed their Facebook accounts following a call to action by television show host Arjen Lubach, news website said on Thursday. Lubach, who presents the Zondag met Lubach programme, had urged viewers to take part in a mass closure event on Wednesday evening in response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Of the 30,000 people who signed up, estimates 10,000 actually shut down their Facebook accounts. The news site bases its claim on checks made on 8,200 of the accounts which were registered for the event. Lubach said that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is unlikely to be affected by the closures.'That does not matter,' he said. 'Discussion has started and that is what this is about. And I do appreciate the fact so many people were prepared to join in.' There are some 9.7 million Facebook users in the Netherlands  More >