Field Networking

Recently I hear from people that have gotten visits from the dutch FBI/BKA equivalent called “Nationale Recherche”. Apparently some of the people that work there are making house calls while investigating – I kid you not – my involvement with the Occupy movement. As much as I feel I am an authoritative source with regard to my involvement in anything, I have yet to be asked any questions. So I don’t know how serious this is, nor whether this is part of a broader investigation into me, into Occupy or into something else entirely.

It’s probably nothing and I know I don’t have to, but I hope you’ll allow me to use this space to clarify some things anyway. If only to preserve precious government resources and to make sure other people don’t have to be bothered answering questions about me anymore.

Dear people at the Nationale Recherche,

If you Google me, you’ll find that I like to provide internet to people that would otherwise not be able to get online. You also might see that I like to play with networking technology in field circumstances. If you read some of the things I’ve said over the years, you won’t be surprised to hear that I am a longtime fan of the people at Adbusters, a “global network of culture jammers and creatives working to change the way information flows, the way corporations wield power, and the way meaning is produced in our society”. They are the people behind the original call to occupy Wall Street.

So when the Occupy Amsterdam encampment went up, I was one of the people that went there to see if we could get a decent internet connection up at the tents at Beursplein in Amsterdam. We found some generous people close-by that wanted to share their internet connection and came with a small assortment of crappy base stations. (We later upgraded to some more suitable networking gear – which by the way has come way down in price lately.) This was absolutely not rocket science and I didn’t get much involved in further organization of anything, mostly because I long ago decided that direct democracy in an ad-hoc group is a wonderful thing that I want to stay very far away from. As Occupy Amsterdam descended into escalating chaos some of the networking gear disappeared, like many other things that were there. I shrugged. Good it was so cheap…

So there you have it, dear people at the Nationale Recherche: my involvement in the Occupy movement. Sometimes I find myself rooting for the underdog and I think it’s only fair if everyone has a say, including various fringe groups in society. I know a thing or two about field networking and I sometimes like to help give a voice to various groups of people that question the crumbling status quo. I don’t think of myself as a law-enforcement priority and neither should you, really. We all benefit if you spend your time investigating more important things, such as actual crime. If you still have further questions, I’d prefer it if you just ask me and not various other people, some of whom truly have not a clue what my link to Occupy is. Also: if you absolutely must ask others about me, it would be swell if you could refrain from threatening them or their employers.

Thank you.

P.S.: To prevent the spending of further tax euros: I have also helped transport a modest amount of internet bandwidth at the recent Ter Apel refugee action camp to facilitate streaming audio from there. Please don’t start bothering people about this when you become institutionally aware of it sometime in 2013.


Ik kan de boom in

5 thoughts on “Field Networking”

  1. Thank you for the hilarious description of a slightly paranoid “official” behavior 🙂

  2. Those young kids,
    we are sooo laid back, but it’s stuff like this

    “if you absolutely must ask others about me, it would be swell if you could refrain from threatening them or their employers.”

    which is exactly the button they need to press to get me all activist over their ass again.


  3. Mostly off-topic: NRC Handelsblad reported this weekend that the motto of the Dutch Team High Tech Crime (which is part of the Nationale Recherche) is: “just do it”. I did not hear Wilbert Paulissen mention this during his INFOOPS marketing speech at Big Brother Awards 2011. (Perhaps I’m missing some context.)

  4. I wonder what these people are so afraid of? They always say “If you have not done anything you have nothing to be afraid of…”

    Field networking is a great way to make new friends and social contact. Yes unfortunately some equipment sometimes gets lost. I fount that the TP-Link TL-WA5210G 2.4GHz High Power Wireless Outdoor CPE only costs 30 euro from a Polish supplier and works very well for sharing internet access..:)

Comments are closed.