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Dutch report Dutch report
by Euro Reporter
2012-02-12 10:48:43
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Dutch authorities start probe into hacker attack at KPN

Dutch authorities began probing a hacker attack at Royal KPN NV after the phone company temporarily blocked e-mail accounts of about 2 million clients because confidential data of 539 KPN users were put online. Opta, the Dutch telecommunications regulator, will investigate whether KPN has done enough to protect the data, Cynthia Heijne, a spokeswoman for the Hague-based Opta, said by phone today. “This is standard procedure when such an event happens.” The public prosecutor has also started a probe, spokesman Wim de Bruin said by phone.

KPN said Feb. 8 that a hacker broke into the server domain within the company’s information technology network and informed government authorities and regulators. The company decided not to inform the public. The company in December was put under increased supervision by Opta because of undisclosed violations, a ruling KPN has appealed. The competition regulator NMa is investigating KPN and other telephone companies separately for possible antitrust violations.

Government systems haven’t been affected by the attack after the National Cyber Security Center investigated the incident, Edmond Messchaert, spokesman of the Ministry of Justice and Safety, said in an interview today. The government in September said it no longer trusted safety certificates issued by DigiNotar BV after hackers issued fraudulent ones, targeting websites from the government and companies such as Facebook Inc. and Google Inc. The government had to warn that part of the country’s online traffic was no longer safe.


Netherlands faces serious teacher shortage

The Netherlands is one of several EU countries facing serious teacher shortages in the future, according to a new report by the European Commission. Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Austria and Belgium can also expect problems in the classroom. The report, entitled 'Key Data on Education in Europe 2012', was presented to EU education ministers who were gathered for talks in Brussels on Friday morning. The findings show the number of graduates specialising in education is falling at a time when many current teachers are approaching retirement age. Funding for education is stable in most member states, the report concluded, stressing that higher education remains the best insurance policy against unemployment.

The report finds that specialised training for teachers, such as mentoring, guidance for assessment and classroom observation, is now more widespread across Europe. But these measures have not been enough to increase the attractiveness of teaching. The Commission wants to boost the attractiveness and quality of the profession by providing a million teachers with opportunities to gain teaching and training experience abroad as part of its new education programme, Erasmus for All.

"The professional development of teachers is a key factor in ensuring high quality education for our students. That's why Erasmus for All aims to strengthen the professional development of teaching staff while at the same time modernising education systems," said EU Education Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou. The report says the share of the population with third-level education has risen and that graduates find jobs twice as quickly as people with lower qualifications - five months compared to 9.8 months. But graduates are increasingly over-qualified for their jobs, the report warns, and some professions clearly offer better employment perspectives than others.


Netherlands plans to ban Muslim face-covering veils next year

The Dutch minority government plans to ban Muslim face veils such as burkas and other forms of clothing that cover the face from next year. The ban would make the Netherlands, where 1 million out of 17 million people are Muslim, the second European Union country to ban the burka after France, and would apply to face-covering veils if they were worn in public.

“People should be able to look at each other’s faces and recognize each other when they meet,” the interior affairs ministry said in a statement Friday. The ban will also apply to balaclavas and motorcycle helmets when worn in inappropriate places, such as inside a store, Deputy Prime Minister Maxime Verhagen told reporters, denying that this was a ban on religious clothing.

Geert Wilders’ anti-Islam Freedom Party (PVV), which helps give the Liberal-Christian Democrat coalition a majority in parliament, has set considerable political store on getting the so-called burka ban passed into law. Few Muslim women in the Netherlands wear the Arabic-style niqabs which leave the eyes uncovered and Afghan-style burkas that cover the face with a cloth grid. Academics estimate the numbers at between 100 and 400, whereas Muslim headscarves which leave the face exposed are far more common.

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