Dutch energy supply systems vulnerable to hackers: planning office

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The Netherlands systems for energy supply are becoming increasingly complex, which also make them more vulnerable to hackers, the Netherlands environmental assessment agency PBL said in a report on digitization on Thursday. This increases the risk of power outages, ANP reports.

Even without a cyber attack, even a small problem can have major consequences in the complicated systems, the PBL warned. The agency calls on the government to intervene. According to the PBL, major power outages can disrupt society.

The PBL writes that digitization can make life easier, but warns that it can also lead to a division in society. Some people will be left behind, because they are too old or not educated enough, for example. Digitization can increase the cliff between them and the rest of society. 

Digitization can also compromise citizens' privacy, according to the report. More and more companies gather and store more and more data. The government makes rules to prevent privacy violations, but often only after the fact. Big tech companies can find the loopholes in the rules. The government therefore needs more in-house IT experts. 

The PBL wants politicians and society to carefully consider "what we really find important", such as "privacy, accessibility and legal certainty". Based on that, the government can decide which developments to stimulate and which to slow down. Though the agency adds that too much regulation is also harmful, as it limits te experimentation, testing, imagination and creativity that help society advance. 

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