Dutch government caught hacking

Reports are coming in that the Dutch government has been trying to `tweak' stories carried on the GPD, the independent Dutch news agency.

Dutch newspaper reports quote Marcel van Longen, the editor-in-chief of the GPD, as saying that his company's computer systems had been systematically hacked for over a year by civil servants working within the social affairs ministry.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that the civil servants were former GPD staffers using the ID and password of a former colleague to break into the newswire computer system.

This reportedly gave them editing access for over a year to unpublished stories, as well as to the news service's internal plans.

The GPD says it first discovered that the social affairs ministry was hacking its computer system on October 19.

That day, a GPD journalist sent the communication department of the ministry a story about the latest developments in the government's new redundancy policy. He requested that the spokesman verify a few facts.

The spokesman, however, did not reply. After the deadline had passed the journalist sent the edited version to the GPD editors, who prepared to put it out on the newswire.

Before the story was officially published, however, the ministry's chief spokesman suddenly called the GPD to respond to the story.

The story he responded to, however, was not the version he had been emailed in the morning, but to the version edited by the journalist concerned, when he did not get a response from the ministry.

As you might expect, the Dutch public prosecutor is said to be looking into the affair...

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