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TU Berlin

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Steffan Heuer


is brand eins correspondent in California. He writes about innovations and human aspects of new technologies. Together with Pernille Tranberg he has written a manual for digital self-defense: the book „Fake it“ has been published by Apple Books and reveals many details of the daily data transfer to unknown companies and institutions. The last "tool" chapter contains very specific tips and tricks to make this data transmission transparent and prevent it.

In his lecture on 15.4. he talks about

Persecution delusion on the Internet (in German)

Anyone who moves online is never alone. In the double sense.

If we want to pursue the life around us, we accept that we are pursued on tip and click by (usually unknown) third parties. A normal, large website is on average equipped with the tracking code of 75 third parties.

This billion-dollar business is largely uncontrolled. Legislators are slow to act, and countries are struggling over standards, so users need to act themselves.

Digital self-defense (DSD) means being able to decide what, when, and in what context information about me is known by others. DSD is not 100% protection, but it can help us to be more data-sparing today. It consists of three components: deny, disguise, and encrypt my data.

Luckily, there are more and more easy-to-use tools that do these three things. From precaution ("think first, then post or host.") along blockers for the browser, VPN and E2E encrypted communication, to cloud storage with zero knowledge privacy.

It is a race that requires constant angagement and adaption. Not least because the Internet of Everything (IoE) is opening new security holes and governments are becoming more aggressive in terms of monitoring and accessing data. The overdue backlash must come from users and companies committed to new data ethics.

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