Amsterdam sets up public charge point for mobile devices

Amsterdam sets up public charge point for mobile devices

Most self respecting cities have a few of them. Built into park benches, in shopping malls or at train and bus stations. Now Amsterdam has one too; a public mobile charge point. In case you’re visiting Amsterdam for a short break and are running out of juice, simply head to the Museumplein, where the brand new Street Charge station is located.  

You will be able to charge your phone just like you do at home or in your Amsterdam Apartments accommodation. The chargers on the Museumplein are powered by solar panels, but even in the middle of the night or in the rain, you can use them without a problem as they store power in swanky battery packs. Apart from charging mobile phones, you can also use the charge station to juice up tablets, iPads or even cameras. 

“Many towns begin to see the advantages of Street Charge as a service product for their inhabitants,” according to Jaap Speet, director of  Dutch Solar Group, the company that erected Street Charge. "It is a great way to acquaint people with solar energy in public spaces.” 

He has a point. When people wake up to the fact that most devices don’t need more than a few square inches worth of solar paneling to keep running continuously, the future will see us walking around with all manner of leisure battery packs. 

In case you were wondering if charge points like these are safe, you did well to be so cautious. Simply inserting a completely public USB cable into your mobile phone could, theoretically, open up avenues for hackers.   

The jargon for this practice is 'juice jacking'. "You simply connect your phone whilst a hacker has placed software in the charge station that pulls the data from your smartphone,” explains tech journalist Tonie van Ringelestijn who writes for Bright.nl. The charge stations in New York, for instance, have already been hacked at least once in their history. 

According to Dutch TV station RTL, the makers behind Street Charge are aware of these risks, but emphasize that it has never happened with their stations. In case you want to take precautions, you can always switch your phone off when you use a public charge station.