All posts by mfeilner

Collaborative Editing? Not for Professionals…

Documentation is team work, yes – but can you do it collaboratively? Yes, but not in collaborative editing. Git is your friend, a good workflow needs to be chosen, and then everyone on your team may choose the editor he loves. Etherpad, Google Docs and such are tools for short texts, but not for professional editing. In this article for Linux Magazine Germany I explain how we work at SUSE.

Darknet demystified – The Limits of Anonymity.

The error is on OSI Layer 8, and even the best technology won’t help you if you use it wrong. In this article about the Darknet (Heise I’X, in German) I demystify many “given” assumptions. No NSA, no police, nobody needs to crack your cryptography if you do the same silly mistakes like so many others before you.

Darknet demystified

Update: Early in February I was interviewed by Radio Berlin Brandenburg about the my opinion on the darknet.

Wechselwahn – why it does not make sense to enforce recurrent password changes.

In this article for Heise I’X (in German) I present statistical and empirical evidence why it usually is a bad idea to force your users to change their password regularly. In fact, you’ll maybe push users to use patterns for their passwords that are cracked much easier than their password. What is a good password, and why you should only change it when you have reason for doubt. “You will need good reason to push your users into regularly changing their passwords – and only in few cases or insecure environments this may make sense at all…”

Factsheets and calculations about the right password length.

DIVSI – a matter of Trust ?

Welcome to the DIVSI, the “German Institute for Trust and Security on the Internet”. This is what the website looks like in my browser, with Javascript, Cookies and all Trackers turned off. Would you trust them? It’s a government project, but still: Would you trust such a website? For once, working with experts would be nice. #sigh. I know, I am using wordpress here, but at least I am not pretending. #plonck.

DIVSI

NetzDG – well, that didn’t quite work out, did it?!

Good intentions and their real life effects – that’s sometimes a whole other story.

In Germany NetzDG, a new law, passed the legislative process with best intentions: against cyber bullying, against hate speech, against fake news. Website owners and companies such as Twitter and Facebook are to be held responsible for what is published under their watch. At least, that was the idea.

Only three weeks into its existence the law, however, has had several severe impacts on free speech. Afraid of being punished social media platforms started to delete numerous postings and content..

More: https://netzpolitik.org/2018/csunet-netzdg-verstoesst-gegen-die-verfassung/

ePrivacy – Keynote at 34th Chaos Communication Congress

At the 34th CCC meeting – the legendary Chaos Communication Congress – Ingo Dachwitz held an interesting speech about a highly controversial topic: We all want our data to be safe. But what is really necessary for a well informed understanding of data security of individual users? Can we declutter ePrivacy?

Watch here: https://netzpolitik.org/2018/34c3-eprivacy-macht-der-datenschutz-das-internet-kaputt/

Best voice recognition? No, it’s not Apple, Google or Microsoft – the NSA does the best job.

A recent Intercept post once more shows great insight into history and state of NSA technologies. This time it’s about voice recognition and recognizing “who’s speaking” within very little time. Things have changed since the cold war, but I was not aware of secret services creating so-called voiceprints of all of us – including and focusing on non-US citizens. There’s an NSA program called Voice RT (link), but also China and Europe are involved:

In November, a major international speaker recognition effort funded by the European Union passed its final test, according to an Interpol press release. More than 100 intelligence analysts, researchers, and law enforcement agents from over 50 countries — among them, Interpol, the U.K.’s Metropolitan Police Service, and the Portuguese Polícia Judiciária — attended the demonstration, in which researchers proved that their program could identify “unknown speakers talking in different languages … through social media or lawfully intercepted audios.”

The Intercept

NSA documents reviewed by The Intercept outline the contours of a similarly expansive system — one that, in the years following 9/11, grew to allow “language analysts to sift through hundreds of hours of voice cuts in a matter of seconds and selects items of potential interest based on keywords or speaker voice recognition.”

Last week the US senate agreed on extending these surveillance measures, and the NSA’s goal is clear, not only since the 2010 conference where its directors clarified:

“It is all about locating, tracking, and maintaining continuity on individuals across space and time. It’s not just the traditional communications we’re after — It’s taking a ‘full arsenal’ approach.”