Minister seeks improved protection of mobile data and devices

Less than one in five Dutch persons have implemented security measures allowing them to make their mobile device inoperable in case of theft. This means that well over 80% of all residents of the Netherlands run the risk of their personal data becoming public following a theft. In an effort to counter this, Minister van der Steur (Security and Justice) calls on all Dutch persons to make their mobile device theft-proof. Thirteen telecom and IT sector companies affiliated with trade association Nederland ICT are working to improve security. To this end, they on Wednesday, 28 September signed an action plan to combat theft of mobile devices and abuse of mobile data.

"The government encourages people to make their mobile devices theft-proof and by so doing help counter the theft of such devices," Minister van der Steur stated. Since the theft-proof campaign was started in 2014, the number of smartphone thefts has decreased by 30%. "Our previous theft-proof campaigns were great examples of inter-party collaboration. The success of these campaigns have led us to include tablets and laptops in this new campaign," the Minister continued.
 
"The sector widely subscribes to the importance of proper protection and security of both equipment and data, as becomes readily apparent from the support given to the action plan," Jeannine Peek, President of Nederland ICT and General Director of Dell Technologies, stated. "The sector is well aware that it has a social responsibility in the matter and is, therefore, happy to cooperate in the theft-proof campaign."
 
Making a device theft-proof entails the activation or installation of an anti-theft functionality on your mobile device, allowing you to block it remotely. Examples include "locate my smartphone/tablet" applications and specialised anti-theft software. Blocking the device renders it useless to thieves and prevents them from accessing e-mail messages, photos and confidential documents. At present, almost a quarter of all smartphones (23.6%) has been made theft-proof, against 17.7% of tablets and 12.2% of laptops.

A recent study commissioned by the Ministry of Security and Justice has shown that 43.1% of Dutch persons is unaware of how to configure their mobile phones and laptops to make them inoperable in the case of theft. 40.3% of the respondents stated to be unfamiliar with how to make a device theft-proof, even though it is a very simple process.

Action plan

On Wednesday, 28 September, Minister van der Steur and thirteen telecom and IT sector parties affiliated with the trade association Nederland ICT signed a theft-proof action plan. The aim is to increase the number of mobile phones rendered theft-proof and, thereby, to further reduce smartphone, tablet and laptop theft.
 
The participating companies include both hardware producers and providers. The participating producers are Microsoft Nederland, Samsung Electronics Benelux, Apple Inc., Dell Technologies, HP Netherlands, Sony Mobile Communications, and Huawei Technologies (Netherlands) B.V. The participating providers are KPN, T-Mobile Netherlands B.V., Ziggo, Simyo, Vodafone Nederland and Tele2.
 
The private parties will make every effort to allow their customers to make their mobile devices theft-proof and will also more expressly inform their customers of this possibility. The Ministry, by way of the national theft-proof campaign, will make tips on preventing theft widely available via social media, Facebook and bus stop posters so as to encourage people to use the available security options.
 
For more information on how to make your smartphone, tablet or laptop theft-proof, visit www.boefproof.nl.

 

Ministry responsible