The Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders and his populist Freedom party have suspended all public campaigning for next month’s parliamentary elections following an alleged security leak. Wilders, current frontrunner for the Netherlands’ general elections, to be held on 15 March, said on Twitter: “Very alarming news. The PVV is suspending its public activities until all facts in connection with the corruption investigation are known.” Dutch media reported this week that a member of the far-right politician’s police security team had been arrested on suspicion of leaking details of his whereabouts to a Dutch-Moroccan criminal gang. The Algemeen Dagblad newspaper reported on Thursday that the officer and his brother, both previously members of the Utrecht police force, had also been investigated in the past in connection with suspected leaks of confidential information.
Articles about voting issues in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Netherlands: The far right party is leading election polls in the Netherlands: Will Geert Wilders be prime minister? | Los Angeles Times
One late-winter evening three years ago, Lt. Col. Mostafa Hilali switched off the light at his office in the Dutch defense department, drove home to his townhouse near the banks of the North Sea, and flipped on the TV. On the news was footage of a political rally where the leader of Holland’s far-right Freedom Party, Geert Wilders, stepped up to the microphone and asked his supporters: “Do you want more or fewer Moroccans in this country?” The mostly white, Christian crowd chanted with fervor: “Fewer, fewer, fewer!” “Well I’ll arrange for that then,” Wilders retorted with a smirk. The crowd cheered. Hilali’s heart sank. “That’s when it hit home for me,” Hilali, a Dutchman of Moroccan descent who immigrated to the Netherlands with his parents when he was a toddler, said at his home in The Hague. “I mean, a politician, somebody in our House of Representatives, is actually on television saying out loud there need to be less people of your kind. It’s pretty brutal to say, and pretty brutal to hear.” Hilali and his native Dutch wife were among more than 5,000 plaintiffs who brought a class-action lawsuit against Wilders for discrimination, for his comments at that March 2014 rally. Last December, they won. A Dutch court found Wilders guilty of inciting discrimination and insulting an ethnic group, but issued no punishment.
Dutch municipalities will be allowed to use computers to count the votes cast in the 15 March elections, but only if those are not connected to the Internet, the Dutch government said on Wednesday. Officials were also banned from using USB-sticks or other devices to bring the results from municipalities to the headquarters of the 20 electoral districts, The measures are part of Plasterk’s attempt to rule out hacking, especially from Russia, and follows a report by Dutch broadcaster RTL at the end of January. RTL said the software that was used to register the votes was vulnerable to hacking because it did not contain any security requirements for computers it was used on. Plasterk then decided that the registering of votes should be done by hand. Registering votes was the only part of the electoral process that was theoretically open to hacking.
Netherlands: Fake News, Fake Ukrainians: How a Group of Russians Tilted a Dutch Vote | The New York Times
Harry van Bommel, a left-wing member of the Dutch Parliament, had persuasive allies in convincing voters that they should reject a trade pact with Ukraine — his special “Ukrainian team,” a gleefully contrarian group of émigrés whose sympathies lay with Russia. They attended public meetings, appeared on television and used social media to denounce Ukraine’s pro-Western government as a bloodthirsty kleptocracy, unworthy of Dutch support. As Mr. Van Bommel recalled, it “was very handy to show that not all Ukrainians were in favor.” Handy but also misleading: The most active members of the Ukrainian team were actually from Russia, or from Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine, and parroted the Kremlin line. The Dutch referendum, held last April, became a battering ram aimed at the European Union. With turnout low, Dutch voters rejected the trade agreement between the European Union and Ukraine, delighting Moscow, emboldening pro-Russia populists around Europe and leaving political elites aghast.
Netherlands: Far-right outcast Geert Wilders vows to ‘de-Islamise’ the Netherlands after taking lead in Dutch polls | The Independent
The controversial right-wing Dutch politician Geert Wilders says he intends to govern in the Netherlands after the elections, and expects the electorate to rise up if other political parties deny him that option. In a rare 40-minute interview with broadcaster WNL, the far-right leader also compared mosques to Nazi temples and the Quran to Hitler’s autobiography Mein Kampf. Mr Wilders does not often sit down for in-depth interviews with Dutch media. The founder of the one-man Party for Freedom, or PVV, prefers to control the narrative through Twitter. The “Dutch Trump” knows that the media will pick up news from his timeline.
A website used by millions of Dutch voters to test their political preferences was quietly keeping a tally of how many were matched with each party, a security researcher who penetrated the site said on Tuesday. The discovery by researcher Loran Kloeze raised potential privacy concerns and sparked a debate over whether the site was biased. The leaked results showed the Labour Party, a junior party in the governing coalition, received the second most matches even though it is running sixth in opinion polls. Kloeze said he had also found a rogue data field on the site in which someone had posted an insult, suggesting he was not the only person to have discovered a flaw in its security. The leak comes at a time of heightened concern over cyber security after U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia used cyberattacks last year to try to sway the outcome of the Nov. 8 election in favor of Donald Trump.
Dutch authorities will count by hand all the votes cast in next month’s general elections, ditching “vulnerable” computer software to thwart any cyber hacking bid, a senior minister has said. “I cannot rule out that state actors may try to benefit from influencing political decisions and public opinion in the Netherlands,” interior minister Ronald Plasterk said in a letter to parliament on Wednesday. On 15 March, the Netherlands kicks off a year of crucial elections in Europe which will be closely watched amid the rise of far-right and populist parties on the continent. Dutch officials are already on alert for signs of possible cyber hacking following allegations by US intelligence agencies that Russia may have meddled in November’s US presidential polls to help secure Donald Trump’s victory.
All ballots in the Netherlands’ election next month will be counted by hand in order to preserve confidence in the electoral system after reports suggested its automated counting systems may be vulnerable to hacking, the government said. Intelligence agencies have warned that three crucial European elections this year, in the Netherlands, France and Germany, could be vulnerable to manipulation by outside actors, including Russia. “Reports in recent days about vulnerabilities in our systems raise the question of whether the results could be manipulated,” Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk said in a statement on Wednesday. “No shadow of doubt can be permitted.” He told broadcaster RTL that possible external actors included Russia. “Now there are indications that Russians could be interested, for the following elections we must fall back on good old pen and paper,” he said.
Dutch security researcher Sijmen Ruwhof has examined the software used at Dutch polling stations to send election results, and now claims “the average iPad is more secure than the Dutch voting system.” Local television station RTL asked the researcher to examine the security of Dutch voting systems after they heard they used weak SHA1 cryptography in certain parts of the system. Dutch elections have used paper-based voting since 2009, when the government banned electronic voting on security grounds. However, once the vote is cast, election officials will use electronic systems to send manually counted votes from each district. As the vote is counted data is transferred and shared on USB sticks, with the final tally going to the central Electoral Council in a digital file. This means that at multiple points during the result calculation, the data is shared electronically using systems that may not be so secure. The voting software can even be installed on personal devices, Windows XP, and non-current versions of web browsers, the researcher said. You can take a look at the accumulation of security weaknesses identified by the researcher here.
The software used at Dutch polling stations to send election results, is outdated and very vulnerable to hackers and there are not enough rules around where and where the software can be installed, according to security expert Sijmen Ruwhof, who investigated the software on behalf of RTL Nieuws. According to Ruwhof, “the average iPad is more secure than the Dutch voting system”. Dutch voters fill in their election ballot with a pencil. The vote count is also done by hand, but the results are forwarded to a central point with the program Ondersteunende Software Verkiezingen (OSV). The Electoral Council installes that program with a CD-ROM. According to Ruwhof, the biggest problem with this is that the program can be installed on any computer, including on old computers that are not properly protected. For example, if the program is installed on a old computer using Windows XP, for which Windows stopped security updates in 2014, and that computer is connected to the internet – the Dutch voting system is open to malicious software that can be used to change the results.