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Weekly read log (05/04/2021-11/04/2021)

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From the Web

  • Unique in the shopping mall: On the reidentifiability of credit card metadata
    • Very interesting paper showing that by studying metadata of credit-card transactions, just 4 time-stamped purchases (even without including the price of the transaction) are enough the re-identify a person. This paper shows that datasets with coarse information do not guarantee any anonymity.
  • 5G: The outsourced elephant in the room
    • If we build infrastructure such as telecommunications based on foreign technology, we will always risk being spied on. Moreover, there is a strategic consideration regarding creating a dependence from a foreign power in critical aspects. 5G is a clear example of what happens when there is not enough incentives to develop the know-how to maintain networks with in-house resources.

      In this post, I argue that this particular Rubicon has long been crossed, and that we should take a dim view of buying yet more telecommunications infrastructure and services from potential geopolitical foes. Instead, we should work very hard to regain some semblance of control over our current telecommunications infrastructure - something we have long lost.

  • Agostino Ramelli’s Theatre of Machines (1588)
    • Short read about an inventor from the XVI century who kept devising machines. Some are war machines, but the majority are for peaceful water management. The most interesting ones show ideas to manage books, to the point that people stretching their imaginations, see as precursors of browser tabs.
  • Encryption Has Never Been More Essential—or Threatened
    • A very hypocritical piece from the whatsapp head claiming how important it is to encrypt communications. From the same company that keeps leaking personal data, that profits from human disgrace. However, not to sin of ad hominem argumentation, the piece discusses some interesting aspects of why governments should not have a built-in way of breaking encryption. Even if from an uber-american perspective, it is clear that we can't trust any state with personal information, especially not when it can be retroactively requested.


  • Through the looking glass (Ted Radio Hour)
    • Discussing access to alternative realities, through microscopes, telescopes and psicoactive drugs
  • Is the Future Quantum (Shortwave)
    • Talking about quantum computers, their progress as products and the implications for cryptography.


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