Kenteken parkeren is een plaag. Op steeds meer plekken kun je niet meer een simpel parkeerkaartje kopen en achter het raam van je auto plakken. Nee, je moet je kenteken invoeren in de parkeermeter, en gemeentelijke parkeerwachters rijden met auto’s met nummerplaatherkenning over de straten en parkeerterreinen om zwartparkeerders automatisch een boete te geven. En passant heeft de gemeente een totaal overzicht van wie waar hoe lang geparkeerd staat. Mijns inziens een onevenredige inbreuk op mijn privacy.

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When I was a child, we used to have a wall (under the staircase) that was painted with blackboard paint, so I (and my brother) could draw in chalk on it.
These days we all have whiteboards with erasable colour markers (except mathematicians that don’t mind the chalk dust apparently 😉 However, whiteboards (and walls covered with a similar material) are really hard to clean: a coloured stain always remains, and often a vague shadow of the original drawing/sentence/formula remains visible as well.

Perhaps we could make use of E Ink technology? In E Ink black and white coloured particles (with opposite charge) are captured in microscopic transparent capsules, such that applying a positive or negative charge moves the black or white particles to the surface. Allowing one to create any black and white image when such  E Ink capsules are aligned in a kind of grid.

Couldn’t you turn that into a kind of paint? So you could draw on a wall covered with such paint with a marker that makes the black charged particles come to the surface, while the opposite charged eraser would make the white particles come to the surface? If the capsules where small enough, alignment in a grid wouldn’t be necessary really, as long as the capsules are spread evenly and dense enough…

Here is an attempt to give a general definition of a distributed ledger, trying to encompass most existing forms of blockchains and distributed ledgers, making their (theoretical) properties and underlying assumptions explicit. We start with a long definition, following with a shorter summary. Comments and suggestions for improvement are more than welcome.

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Gisteren diende er een kort geding van de Belastindienst tegen de Museumvereniging, die de museumkaart uitgeeft. De vereniging weigert namelijk de Belastingdienst inzage te geven in het gebruik van de museumkaart. De Belastingdienst zegt deze gegevens nodig te hebben om te kunnen bepalen of iemand die claimt niet in Nederland woonachtig te zijn, toch in Nederland verbleef en daarom belastingplichtig is. De Museumvereniging zegt de privacy van haar gebruikers te willen beschermen.

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In an otherwise perfect interview on the importance of social innovation (that I wholly agree with and that I encourage everybody to read) Jaromil said something interesting about the use of blockchain to create scarcity in the digital realm.

With the blockchain the situation is paradoxically creating scarcity, because if I give you something I will not have it anymore, and I can’t spend it anymore. The blockchain creates for the first time a condition in which it will be possible to create a unique asset in the digital dimension.

For some, creating scarcity is the holy grail in the digital domain. Because scarcity does not naturally exist there. In the digital domain it is easy to make exact digital copies of digital documents, pictures, videos, etc. Scarcity would re-establish copyright, or at least prevent large scale copyright infringements. And it would prove Paul Graham wrong.

I fear the situation is slightly more complex than that, and that, in fact, digital scarcity is a Fata Morgana.

Let me explain.

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Als je in een jaar duidelijk meer (of minder) hebt verdiend dan andere jaren, dan kan het soms uit om middeling van je inkomstenbelasting aan te vragen. Door naderhand de inkomstenbelasting te herberekenen over het gemiddelde inkomen over drie aaneengesloten jaren, kan deze duidelijk lager uitvallen. Veel mensen weten dit niet. En het vervelende is: je moet het zelf op tijd uitrekenen en schriftelijk aanvragen, zonder kekke rekenhulp met vooraf ingevulde gegevens. Anders kun je naar je geld fluiten.

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Palantir is a platinum sponsor for the 2018 edition Amsterdam Privacy Conference (APC). Because of Palantir’s very poor (privacy) reputation several scholars cancelled their participation. And a petition was started (called ‘Funding Matters’) that calls for

  1. The discontinuation of Palantir’s sponsorship of the Amsterdam Privacy Conference,
  2. Organizers and participants alike to engage in an action-oriented discussion on corporate funding of academic events,
  3. The development of rigorous criteria and guidelines for corporate sponsorship, for example, based on Human Rights Impact Assessments.

I agree, funding matters. (Not only when organising conferences, but also when doing research, by the way.) But I am afraid that I cannot sign the petition as it currently stands. Even though I care about this issue a lot. In fact, it’s because I care about this issue a lot.

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