|Image thanks to Rop Gonggrijp’s blog|
In the witch-hunt for collaborators of Wikileaks, US has summoned the Dutch government to hand over all private information of a man being referred to as Rop Gronggrijp, The request looks clumsy since among other things his ID card on his blog clearly shows that his real name is Robbert. The information to be supplied comprises IP-addresses, credit card and bank info, login codes of twitter and other accounts etc.
According to the US, Gonggrijp is a threat to the national security and is now being called the adjudant of one of the current Wikileaks key figures Australian ex-hacker / whistleblower Julian Assange.
I do believe that Rop Gronggrijp and Julian Assange have a lot in common, namely at young age in pre-internet times they both used to be hackers using a personal computer and a telephone modem. By applying their knowledge and a large human network they feel the urge to not only demonstrate malfunctioning security in confidential information systems, but promoting freedom of speech and publishing information found about injustice as well, originating from a kind of libertarian conviction. Also I believe both have no time and/or have up to date skills to exercise their original hobby, but have become icons in the ‘trade’. Rop was and is still often being interviewed in the Dutch media about electronic security issues.
At younger age Rop used to be a so called phreaker, exploiting phone systems with the help of an American PBX (telephone-connection-system) expert and US fugitive, finding weaknesses in the system and publishing schematic diagrams or information to call free charge, starting so-called chat-boxes for free, unscrambe pay-channels or copy magnetic stripes of (bank)-cards, which were published in a magazine called Hack-Tic.
I met Rop and the American one time in the early 90′s to develop a commercial telephone controlled switch/alarm device, using the pager- and telephone-network At the time they had developed a device which showed all info about any pager-message being sent in Holland in real time. Both had long hair and big boots, which raised the eyebrows of our secretary, I remember. Unfortunately the project was discontinued due to lack of funds from the company where I was employed.
Later Rop pushed the only (at the time state owned) telephone company KPN to supply Holland’s first commercial and private internet cable to his house in Amsterdam, which took him about one year, in the same year, 1993, he co-founded the first commercial ISP in Holland, called XS4ALL.
In 1997 the company was bought by the original ‘enemy’ KPN and made Rop a wealthy man.
Because of his mischief in the past, Rop is labeled as ‘dangerous’ by the US for about 20 years or so.
According to his blog, Rop’s only involvement in Wikileaks is releasing a video in July 2007 called Collateral Murder which shows a firefight from a US Apache helicopter over Baghdad that allegedly killed a group of eleven unarmed civilians including Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, his driver Saeed Chmagh, and wounded two children among others. Enough to make Rop an eternal enemy of the nation.
Dutch newspapers report that in the recent past he had tried to find hosts for Wikileaks.
Unlike in the times of the Spanish inquisition, we nowadays distinguish so-called white witches and black witches. The term ‘hacker’ hasn’t evolved that much yet; so it doesn’t categorize people who are breaking into secured systems or dealing with secret/private info purely for financial gain or people who are doing this merely for public awareness and/or achieving peaceful ideological goals.
We now have to wait to see how much balls Dutch authorities will show towards the US (thanks again for your help to liberating us in WWII) to decline this request which contains errors and is not backed-up by international law.