|old man ruled out by buildings surrounded, digital 2011|
Another experience forced me to write this blog, but it is not a stand-alone. The more Internet is integrated into society, the more fools are developing it seems.
A hash statement indeed, but this is what I experience, certainly this last year, and I can imagine why hackers unite to bombard companies and institutions. The ignorance at the servers-side is enormous. Not only is it a hassle, even for more experienced users, to find your way through websites and applications, but it is also a fact that complete communities are banned from logging in of what they need. To explain this I will show an illustration.
Yesterday I needed to log on to the server of the city of
Maastricht ( Netherlands), but whatever button I pushed, I constantly was directed back to the original page, so I asked for an explanation by email. The response was a couple of links and the remark that the application was best shown in Internet Explorer. This sounded suspicious. Yesterday I tried to log-in from a Linux environment using Firefox, so I started to test, and guess what…
Not only is it impossible to access the application with browsers like Chrome, Safari or Opera, they simply do not allow Apple or Linux users. They ban complete communities by writing an application just for Windows XP or higher, and even under this Operating System you are just allowed to access by using IE7, Firefox5, or higher. If this is not discrimination…, or is the majority of servers sponsored by Microsoft to save their own skin? This idea comes to mind more often lately. The success of Macintosh and the growth of the Linux community since Ubuntu has to be countered one way or the other.
This story is even getting worse…
Thanks to the links and by using WinXP with the Firefox browser I was able to see the buttons, however clicking them I was asked for my DigID (Digital ID). The next screen told me that my password was incorrect. Pardon? I used it – on a different server – just a couple of weeks ago, and everything went fine, so I tried again. The same result came up. I became more and more angry on the bloody system, but that didn’t help. I could only do two things: hack the damn thing or renew my password. Since the second possibility seemed less time consuming I went for it, gave in my username and password to reset it, and… it came back unaccepted. Suddenly I understood why.
A couple of months ago the DigID servers were hacked and a lot of information could be out in the open. A scandal which came as far as a Dutch parliament discussion, and the company responsible was fired, went even busted, I believe. However; the old system had failed and the new responsible company changed it of course. Nothing against it: safety first. But to wipe out the used certificates – mine was 16bits, if someone wants to crack that, go ahead for the poor info I leave behind – brings a lot of people into trouble. During my last session a couple of weeks ago, months after the hacking took place, it was already clear that my information was untouched: so why delete it with all the trouble of renewing and waiting for five days on an activation code. Afterwards maybe hacking was less time consuming, though.
But enough about me; imagine our whole elderly generation which doesn’t have a clue how a computer or Internet works. The last couple of years they are forced to buy a pc and get a connection to the Net, because otherwise it is hardly too impossible to apply for their pension, taxes, or whatever one has to do to satisfy the government. All those people who have trouble to cope with the future will have the same experience as I, without any warning. Their passwords, carefully written down in an old notebook, won’t work anymore, without even a simple email to explain. Imagine the panic if suddenly something doesn’t work that always did and what you don’t understand anyhow. No access to what so ever, and what happened with the name of the cousin you always used and always worked fine?
On the one hand today’s governments want to let us believe that digitalization of society is a blessing: everything will work smoother, easier and faster. It is like the banks in the past; convincing people to give their money to them, and look what happened recently… It is the same with governments: if they really understand were society is heading to – that the future is on the Net, indeed! – Then they in the first place have to make sure that no one is ruled out. Not someone from over 70, and not anyone who is using something else than a poor operating system Windows still is. Highly commercialized, for certain, but as weak as Moses’ basket…