Netherlands: Case dropped on investigative reporter
Journalist Brenno de Winter who demonstrated major weaknesses in a Dutch transport payment system on TV is acquitted for allegations of fraud. Danish news site picks up the case.
Brenno de Winter was informed in person that the case against him is dropped. He is not longer suspected of having committed a crime.
”Normally they write you a letter, but I was invited to a personal conversation with the prosecutor as well as the head of public prosecution office in Utrecht. What I did was with the clear intension of a public disclosure in the media,” he says.
Mary Hellebeek, press officer at the prosecutor’s office in Utrecht commented last month to this website that the prosecutor was aware of de Winter’s journalistic purpose and this would be considered.
”I'm relieved and believe they did the right thing in investigating and dropping the case. But I'm annoyed of the company that pressed the charges. That was nasty of them and unneeded. But most importantly I believe that journalism benefits from this case,” Brenno de Winter comments.
Meanwhile a Danish news site Version.2 has picked up the story, giving their readers a detailed account of the case. (Link in Danish only). A Danish travel payment system based on the same technology has been announced for years, but has been severely delayed.
Already last year a student at the University of Copenhagen claimed that the payment system was far too easy to get into for hackers – although these claims have note been publicly demonstrated on TV the way Brenno de Winter did it in the Netherlands.