Archives for category: Opeds

Last week I participated in a panel of the interdisciplinary seminar
“ANYWARE: Privacy and location data in the era of machine learning”. The event was organised by the wonderful people of the Faculty of Law and Criminology of the Free University of Brussels (VUB). The event was delightful (so that’s not what this blog post is going to be about ;-). What happened afterwards was an unexpected glimpse into a very bleak future…

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Quantum computing research is receiving a huge boost from the European Union. Today a Dutch newspaper mentioned that KPN, a large Dutch telecom operator, is going to secure one of their main links using ‘quantum encryption’ to protect against attacks using such quantum computers. I doubt that is going to help much.

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The recent order of an US court for Apple to comply with the FBI’s request for technical assistance in the recovery of data on an iPhone 5C used by a terrorist has sparked a huge debate.

And rightly so. This is an important case, not so much because of the particulars of the case, but because of the broader issues that are at stake here. Unfortunately, the debate centers still on the particulars of the case and is not really broadening up to the wider perspective.

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I am a long time tablet PC user. I have owned a Toshiba (great resolution), Dell XT (great support, they basically upgraded me to an XT2) and a Lenovo Helix (which simply sucks). I love being able to take notes directly in a pdf, if only because it allows me to comment on student work and keep a copy of my comments for reference. OneNote is great for making handwriting notes during meetings, to sketch ideas, or to do mathematics. But I’ve never been a great fan of Microsoft products (OneNote is really a surprising exception), so I always said that if Apple would introduce a tablet, I would switch. They did, so here I am…
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The LIBE Committee and the STOA Panel of the European Parliament together with the Luxembourg Presidency organised a conference in Brussels earlier this week. The aim was to discuss possible European policies to improve privacy and strengthen IT security, among the leading international security and privacy experts. The discussions were actually lively but unfortunately also quite chaotic, so this post is really my effort to bring some structure in the debate.
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Pressure from government on companies and institutions to provide access to encrypted communications and stored data us increasing. Many people call it the second crypto war. An influential report often cited in the discussion is “Keys Under Doormats: Mandating insecurity by requiring government access to all data and communications” written by a score of well known and respected scientists. The report raises many important and relevant points. However, it is very much focused on the argument that government access is a bad idea from a technical perspective. And I happen to disagree with that point of view. There are many good reasons against indiscriminate government access to public infrastructure, but the technical arguments are the least convincing in my mind. In fact I think it is dangerous and ineffective to argue against government access on technical grounds. Instead the real arguments against indiscriminate government access are of an ethical, legal, political and organisational nature. Here is why.
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I am invited to a high-level conference co-organised by the LIBE Committee and the STOA Panel of the European Parliament together with the Luxembourg Presidency in Brussels this week. The title of the conference is “Protecting online privacy by enhancing IT security and strengthening EU IT capabilities”. The aim is to discuss, interact and come up with bold, innovative, out-of-the-box ideas to help foster an EU online privacy protection and IT security strategy for the next years. In preparation they have asked all participants to submit their top-3 policy recommendations. Below you’ll find mine. Read the rest of this entry »