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Utility Box Exposed As Spy Cabinet In the Netherlands 179

Posted by timothy
from the all-an-elaborate-dream dept.
First time accepted submitter thejezus writes "A spy cabinet has been exposed on a public road in The Hague, the Netherlands (Google translate here). The cabinet was disguised as telecom-cabinet and was detected by the maintenance crew of Ziggo (a triple-play provider) because it was not listed as a property of the company. Upon opening, it was revealed the cabinet contained a camera and UMTS equipment. Later that day, the cabinet disappeared. 1984 much?"
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Utility Box Exposed As Spy Cabinet In the Netherlands

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  • by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday April 21, 2013 @12:19PM (#43509925) Journal
    Does a spy camera on the side of the road really justify comparisons to 1984? Are we really anywhere close to the type of life portrayed in 1984?
  • Re:Weird (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 21, 2013 @12:29PM (#43509995)

    Who would be spying on the Netherlands? Someone after the secret to wooden shoes, perhaps?

    This "Schilderswijk" where the cabinet was discovered is a notorious low-income suburb. It's more likely to be native intelligence spying on locals in fear of extremists.

  • pictures of inside (Score:5, Informative)

    by xatr0z (633279) on Sunday April 21, 2013 @12:29PM (#43509999)
  • by guttentag (313541) on Sunday April 21, 2013 @12:46PM (#43510143) Journal

    The Hague is the seat of the Dutch intelligence services...

    More importantly, The Hague is the location of the International Court of Justice [], the judicial arm of the United Nations, as well as a number of other international courts []. Definitely a city of international importance.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 21, 2013 @01:10PM (#43510307)

    television + internet + telephone

  • by sciencewatcher (1699186) on Sunday April 21, 2013 @01:11PM (#43510311)
    This looks much more like a police operation. A couple of years ago a small nondescript trailer was parked in Amsterdam to observe a meeting between two criminals. One of those started a shooting spree and the police officers inside the trailer were lucky not to be hit. They couldn't get out of the trailer from the inside quick enough to chase them. There probably is a notorious criminal living within sight there. The Ziggo employees were irresponsible in publicizing this. Ziggo is a cable company.
  • by icebraining (1313345) on Sunday April 21, 2013 @01:20PM (#43510353) Homepage

    Yes, there must be some similitude to justify the comparison, obviously.

    In 1984 the surveillance wasn't hidden, it was overt. And this is actually important, because the main concept in the novel wasn't the surveillance, but the state of mind of the Party members*, which both enabled and was enabled by the conscience of full and complete surveillance, among other things.

    People who compare this to Orwell's work either didn't read it or completely missed the point.

    * The society in 1984 didn't actually have full surveillance; in fact, only 15% of society were spied on. Winston is just part of those 15%.

  • by fondacio (835785) on Sunday April 21, 2013 @01:31PM (#43510453)

    But pretty much irrelevant to this story. The neighbourhood in which they found the cabinet is far removed from where the international institutions are and from where the internationals live. As mentioned by previous posts, the Schilderswijk is a low income area with a large immigrant population. The purpose of the cabinet is most likely to help a police investigation into anything between organised crime or jihad recruitment, and on Dutch websites some have already pointed out that exposing this method effectively renders it useless in the future, but police have been doing it for at least ten years. This kind of surveillance was most likely done with the permission of a public prosecutor, unless it was the intelligence services in which case another law applies.

  • by iggymanz (596061) on Sunday April 21, 2013 @01:57PM (#43510657)

    no, we did not have populace on "internet" in 1980s, nor did we have automated systems for listening to all comm for key words. we did not have a "forever war" in place.

  • by SternisheFan (2529412) on Sunday April 21, 2013 @01:59PM (#43510669)
    From Wikipedia:

    The chairman of the Committee was Thorbjørn Jagland, former Norwegian Labor Party prime minister and Secretary General of the Council of Europe since September 29, 2009. The panel met six or seven times in 2009, beginning several weeks after the February 1 nomination deadline. The winner was chosen unanimously on October 5 but was initially opposed by the Socialist Left, Conservative and Progress Party members until strongly persuaded by Jagland.

    Jagland said "We have not given the prize for what may happen in the future. We are awarding Obama for what he has done in the past year. And we are hoping this may contribute a little bit for what he is trying to do," noting that he hoped the award would assist Obama's foreign policy efforts. Involvement in which can now be proven as early as March 2009. Jagland said the committee was influenced by a speech Obama gave about Islam in Cairo in June 2009, the president's efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation and climate change, and Obama's support for using established international bodies such as the United Nations to pursue foreign policy goals. The New York Times reported that Jagland shrugged off the question of whether "the committee feared being labeled naïve for accepting a young politician’s promises at face value", stating that "no one could deny that 'the international climate' had suddenly improved, and that Mr. Obama was the main reason...'We want to embrace the message that he stands for.'"

    Obama said he was "surprised" and "deeply humbled" by the award. He stated that he does not feel he deserved the award, and that he did not feel worthy of the company the award would place him in. In remarks given at the White House Rose Garden on the day of the announcement, Obama stated, "I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments but rather an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations."

    The award, he said, "must be shared with everyone who strives for justice and dignity — for the young woman who marches silently in the streets on behalf of her right to be heard even in the face of beatings and bullets; for the leader imprisoned in her own home because she refuses to abandon her commitment to democracy; for the soldier who sacrificed through tour after tour of duty on behalf of someone half a world away; and for all those men and women across the world who sacrifice their safety and their freedom and sometime their lives for the cause of peace." He did not take questions from reporters after giving his statement.

    Obama announced early that he would donate the full 10 million Swedish kronor (about US$1.4 million) monetary award to charity. []

  • by santax (1541065) on Sunday April 21, 2013 @02:33PM (#43510841)
    To be honest, as one of the very few licensed gun owners here in the Netherlands.... we sometimes (rare though) have gun shots.But we don't have shootings like you guys. Only once in history a couple of years ago a schizophrenic but licensed gun-owner had a shooting in a mall here. But that is unique.
  • Mystery solved (Score:5, Informative)

    by Captain_Chaos (103843) on Monday April 22, 2013 @07:04AM (#43514157)
    The box was placed by the police department. See this [] follow up article (Google Translate []), in which the police department (it doesn't specify which one, but probably that of The Hague) states that the box is theirs and it was being used in a large financial crime investigation. Nothing to do with investigating the recruitment of youths to come fight in Syria, as had been speculated. They say they had permission from the public prosecutor to use it.

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