Most digital privacy advocates take user consent as the go to solution to avoid Big Brother. But does that stand the test of reality?

Online consent is not a trivial process. source: BBC

This discussion stems from a thought provoking tweet, to say the least. “Maybe consent should have *no* place in privacy law”.

And how to solve it, in theory and in practice

Identity systems have traditionally been hierarchical directories. In organizations, central administrators define the rights that each user (or group of users) has on the system. And so, they need to know who the user is.

One the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog

That’s a big problem to solve, famously cartooned by Steiner in 1993: “on the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.”

Since 1993, the internet has taken the world. Identity and Access Management (IAM) systems know span a wide variety of uses, that include customers too. …

More than a licence, we need to commit to a sustainable digital infrastructure.

A (very) brief history of open software movements

Both free software and opensource have had tremendous success.

Steve Klabnik has provided a great historical review of the origin of free software with Stallman’s GNU announcement in 1983. Underpinning the free software movement was a profound critique of the role that patent law and private sourcing had come to play in stifling innovation and creativity.

The copyleft principle, e.g. GPL (Source : David Ing)

Fifteen years later, just when the internet was booming, the opensource reaction was devised to allow a more permissive use of the licences. As per Eric S. Raymond:

Specifically, we have…

But only if you can demonstrate your intent to drink it.

The challenge (Kavka)

What will you do at midnight?

An eccentric billionaire places before you a vial of toxin that, if you drink it, will make you painfully ill for a day, but will not threaten your life or have any lasting effects. The billionaire will pay you one million dollars tomorrow morning if, at midnight tonight, you intend to drink the toxin tomorrow afternoon.

He emphasizes that you need not drink the toxin to receive the money; in fact, the money will already be in your bank account hours before the…

Or what a fundamentally critical view of degrowth theory teaches you about the current crisis, and about capitalism in general.

I’m no degrowth fanboy, quite the opposite actually. Degrowth’s narrative usually starts by evoking a catastrophic threat, or even a collapse, and many people firmly believe that covid-19 is a pre-configuration of a climate catastrophe, that nature talks to us. Which is a very anthropomorphic view of the world. While I agree that systemic saturation is threatening the (supposedly) limitless growth trajectory, the degrowth theory seems to me depressing and unusable at scale.

It’s like hoping for a world of…

These two related concepts are fundamentally different, and complementary. I use them in my work in cybersecurity, but the current crisis better illustrates the point for the general public.

How can we mitigate the damages from the next pandemic?

This is a risk question, one that is typically studied by the likes of WHO and re-insurers. It requires the estimation of future probability and the likelihood that it will spread up to a point where it will damage the emergency response. …

We’re all the rage with big data and its potential. But data might actually be the new CO2, as previously analyzed in a Luminate blog post. Recently, the covid19 crisis adds more surveillance risks, as described by Yuval Harari. The European regulator has declared the situation changes drastically:

We could not even imagine that reasonable people would start asking internet & telecom operators to possibly track each and every person in Europe using his or her mobile location data in real time, and to create a diagram representing all physical interactions between people. — Wojciech Wiewiórowski

Privacy is a fundamental…

A review of the critiques made about using blockchain for proving provenance and authenticity

This post is an answer to a blockchain critique from Sebastien Meunier. I think it’s good when people try to take some distance from hype. Well, except when they’re saying something obviously wrong for the sake of making an argument.

Blockchain bashing has become a sport, but let’s be fair: it needs more convincing use cases, beyond the bitcoin world. Too many ICOs have led to nothing or are purely and simply scams. Many projects have simply failed (for instance, RChain).

The issue with crypto, summarized

So more scrutiny is required and blockchain should only be taken as a mean, not as a goal. But…

Proof of stake (PoS) is a hot topic in the blockchain community. But will it work out as expected?

A short primer on consensus history

Why would we need Proof of Stake consensus algorithm, instead of Proof of Work? In short, the answer is two-fold : scalability and resource-efficiency.

For a more elaborate answer, let’s start with a quick look backward on distributed computing. Consensus is one of the most important goals to be achieved when many distributed computers share the same task and resources.

What’s a distributed system? You know you have one when the crash of a computer you’ve never heard of stops you…

An opiniated vision of how we should stop spending time on useless coordination strategies.

Project management sucks. Period.

We spend so much time trying to fix broken things that we often even forget what we’re trying to achieve.

Let me tell you some personal stories. I’m an entrepreneur. I have been working on large scale IT projects for the biggest companies you probably can think of, for typical deal sizes of a few million euros. …

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