Berlin Protest Organizers Call European ISP Rules "Stasi 2.0"

Demonstrators in Germany and elsewhere voice their dissatisfaction with a European directive on data retention

3 min read

8 October 2008—Life in the former German Democratic Republic, or East Germany, was no picnic. This grim socialist state was known for the extraordinary amount of spying it carried out on its own citizens. Conservative estimates suggest that 1 in 50 East Germans regularly collaborated with the Ministry for State Security—the infamous Stasi. Although such pervasive intrusions into their personal lives are outside the direct experience of young Germans today, some of them have dubbed their government’s latest rules on the retention of Internet data by Internet service providers ”Stasi 2.0.” And they’re angry enough about it to take to the streets. Demonstrations are planned this Saturday for Berlin and other cities.

Germany, along with other European nations, is in the process of following through on a directive issued by the European Commission in 2006 requiring ISPs to begin retaining records of Internet access, e-mail, and Internet-based telephony. The data, which are to be held between six months and two years, will not include the content of the communications, but there must be sufficient information to identify the source and destination of the message and to log the date, time, and, in the case of telephony, the duration of the contact. The directive also mandates that similar data about telephone calls made from land lines and mobile phones in Europe also be retained. The rationale, of course, is that this information will help officials combat serious crimes, such as acts of terrorism.

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
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A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar
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You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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