A journalist is playing computer hacker. Daniël Verlaan, journalist on the private Dutch channel RTL Niews, managed to participate in a secure and confidential videoconference meeting of European Union defense ministers on Friday 20 November.
According to the channel, the journalist achieved this small feat by discovering an identifier and part of a confidential code allowing access to this meeting, on an image which was visible on the Twitter account of the Dutch Minister of Defense Ank Bijleveld . Subject to quarantine and working remotely, she had documents on her desk that allowed this piracy, reports the channel.
During this secret meeting, we can see the journalist, in a black T-shirt and smiling, greet the ministers. “Do you know you’re breaking into a secret conference?”, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell is offended. “Yes, yes, I’m sorry. I’m a Dutch journalist”, answers Daniel Verlaan, while we can hear in the background the laughter of the other participants in the conference.
“I’m sorry I interrupted your lecture, I’m leaving”, he adds. “It’s a criminal offense, you should cut (the connection) before the police arrive”, we retort. According to RTL, the journalist quickly left the conference, which was immediately canceled for security reasons.
– Michiel van Hulten (@mvanhulten) November 20, 2020
This incident shows that “ministers must once again realize how” you have to be careful on twitter, said the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte during his weekly press conference. “It was a stupid mistake. But she reminds you to be careful when sending a picture of a meeting”, he said. The minister’s image has in the meantime been removed, an official from the Ministry of Defense told RTL.
An EU diplomatic source told AFP that “the non-security of communications forced the work to be cut immediately”. The EU notes “that it is imperative to strengthen the security of communications of institutions”, added this source. The “subject is a joke, but is considered very serious”, she concluded.