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<nettime> Frank Tiggelaar: A royal couple's problems
geert on Thu, 24 Jan 2002 11:58:11 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Frank Tiggelaar: A royal couple's problems

(fwd. with permission of the author from the justwatch list)

From: Frank Tiggelaar <frankti {AT} xs4all.nl>

Next week the Dutch will see crown prince Willem-Alexander and
Maxima Zorreguieta marry in Amsterdam.  The bride's parents aren't
welcome to attend the wedding. Zorreguieta was an agriculture minister
in the Argentinian junta led by general Videla and he is widely believed
to have known about the crimes this dictatorial regime committed.

Today bride and groom wanted to chat with the Dutch Internet community.
Three hundred people were selected to have access to the actual chat,
the rest of us mortals could follow the session on a webpage.  The
government had received guarantees from KPN, our recently privatised
national telecomms monopoly, that their servers would deliver, no matter
how many people attended the chat-page, which also included live
RealVideo and WMF pictures.

Two minutes into the session KPN's servers were hacked and went down.
KPN was unable to get them up again to resume the session. A screenshot
of the session breaking down is at

The K in KPN stands for 'Koninklijke' = Royal. The hackers haven't been
traced yet; given KPN's overall incompetence they will probably never be

KPN raised its tariffs for ADSL connections by 23% last week "in order
to guarantee the high quality level of the product".  The raise aroused
a wave of protests; my hunch is the hack was performed by some disgruntled
subscribers. Amongst the 150,000 ADSL users here are a lot of very able
hackers: in several usenet groups 'manuals' circulate to hack and patch
the Alcatel ADSL modems which KPN issues to ADSL users, for instance.
After the hack these $150 modems perform exactly like their $ 400 luxury
edition counterparts. A KPN spokesman bravely called this "a problem for
Alcatel" :-)

XS4ALL, sponsor of initiatives like B92, FreeSerbia, Domovina Net and
HIVNet, is a 100% KPN subsidiary, but its management is pretty free
to decide on the company's strategy.  After KPN's price-hike XS4ALL
announced it will soon be re-selling ADSL services offered by a new
contestant on the Dutch market, a Telecom Italia subsidiary.

BTW, the acronym XS4ALL originally did not stand for 'Access for All'
but rather for 'Axes for All'. The company's roots lay in the hackers


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