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News Article | August 4, 2017
Site: motherboard.vice.com

Jillian C. York is Director for International Freedom of Expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a fellow at the Center for Internet & Human Rights at the European University Viadrina. A version of this article appeared on her personal blog. I'd just given a talk at a conference and was having a nice chat with a young man who was doing similar work and wanted to stay in touch. "Great, just give me your Signal number," he said. I hesitated. I've been using Signal for several years, since it was TextSecure. As the premier end-to-end encrypted messaging app, it's by the far the most trusted app of its kind in my circles, and although it's been slow to catch up to WhatsApp and other tools when it comes to fancy features, I use just as much among friends. But Signal—as well as WhatsApp and Viber—require you to register with and use your phone number as an identifier. What this means practically is that when I meet someone with whom I wish to connect on one of these apps, I have to give them my phone number for them to be able to message me. I've been thinking about this as a security issue for awhile. As a woman, handing out my phone number to a stranger creates a moderate risk: What if he calls me in the middle of the night? What if he harasses me over SMS? What if I have to change my number to get away from him? As a semi-public figure, these are real concerns. Fortunately, I can block a single harasser's phone number, but what if someone decided to make my private number public? I'm not willing to take that risk. I'm not so surprised that the mostly-male developers of these tools didn't consider these risks—risks that largely affect women and other vulnerable groups. They've focused carefully on ensuring that their encryption works (which is key), that their user-verification models are usable and make sense, and I'm grateful for that…but I still don't want to give my phone number out to a stranger. Luckily, I have a workaround, and a policy recommendation for app developers. Let's start with the latter: I'm not a technologist, but I've asked around, and a number of smart friends have suggested that it wouldn't be so hard for apps like Signal to allow for aliases. What do I mean? Well, imagine that young man at the conference had asked me for my Signal, but instead of giving him my number, I could give him a temporary or permanent handle associated with my account. Registration wouldn't change—my Signal would still be tied to my phone number—but the public-facing identifier could be the phone number or an alias of my choosing. There's only one app that I know of that offers a feature like this: SudoApp boasts of allowing users to create up to nine aliases for different purposes. Wire doesn't offer multiple aliases, but also doesn't require a phone number…you can simply sign up online with your email address. I would like to see more encrypted messaging apps consider options like these. A few years ago, I discovered a way to use Signal and WhatsApp while keeping them disconnected from the SIM I carry with me in my phone. It requires you to purchase a second SIM card (I use a pay-as-you-go that I top up every couple of months), or to use a dedicated Google Voice or other forwarding number. Here's how you do it: 1. Put your secondary SIM card in your regular phone and register your Signal account to that number. 2. After it's registered, take that SIM card out and put your regular one back in. Do not change your Signal account to that number. You'll want to hold on to the SIM card, and make sure it stays operational, because if the number goes back out onto the market, someone can register a new account with it, thus kicking you off of yours (seriously, this happened to a friend in Lebanon, where numbers go back onto the market frequently). You can treat the secondary number as a public number (mine is on my business cards, and I keep the SIM in an old Nokia so I can take work calls on it), or as your own little secret. Get six of our favorite Motherboard stories every day by signing up for our newsletter.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: SSH-2009-3.3.1. | Award Amount: 2.42M | Year: 2010

The TOLERACE project proposes a contextualised comparative analysis that focuses on the semantics and regimes of (anti-)racism and tolerance in different European contexts, exploring how they are shaped through the mediation of public institutions and policies at the European, national, regional and local level, and civil society organisations. We seek to explore how the different meanings given to tolerance and (anti-)racism are embedded in wider ideas and discourses on citizenship, more precisely in the (re-)definition of European identities in relation to current immigration policies and post-colonial situations. Our hypothesis is that public policies do not sufficiently incorporate anti-racist measures, resulting in precarious modes of integration and making social structures vulnerable to racism. Additionally, we critically consider that de-historicised, dominant conceptions of racism (as a problem of extremist ideologies and their supporters and a well-bounded, localised phenomenon) are failing to address the relationship between nationality, racism and citizenship. Therefore, we propose an analysis that locates racism within a set of complex ways of belonging and of governing difference, and thus related to multiple forms of discrimination (such as religious and linguistic). Three comparative analytical strategies will be followed: (i) Critical analysis of public policies and campaigns focused on the celebration of diversity and the promotion of anti-racism measures and tolerance, in relation to broader multicultural and/or intercultural political traditions; (ii) Empirical analysis of regional/local cases in each national context, as located in the socio-political spaces created by the interplay of (anti-)racism and (in-)tolerance, focusing on two life spheres education and employment; (iii) The role of the media in the construction of public issues and in making visible racism as a key social problem, within each national/regional context.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: SSH-2009-3.3.1. | Award Amount: 3.44M | Year: 2010

In recent times, Europe has experienced increasing tensions between national majorities and ethnic or religious minorities, more particularly with marginalised Muslim communities. In some countries challenges relate more to immigrant groups while in other countries they refer to native minority claims. It is in this geopolitical context that the ACCEPT project responds to Topic 3.3.1 and notably in the quest for investigating whether European societies have become more or less tolerant during the past 20 years and in the necessity to clarify: (a) how is tolerance defined conceptually, (b) how it is codified in norms, institutional arrangements, public policies but also social practices, (c) how tolerance can be measured and how the degree of tolerance of a society across time or of several countries at the same time can be compared (whose tolerance, who is tolerated, and what if degrees of tolerance vary with reference to different minority groups). The project starts from a distinction between liberal tolerance (not interfering with practices or forms of life of a person even if one disapproves of them) and egalitarian tolerance referring to institutional arrangements and public policies that fight negative stereotyping, promote positive inclusive identities and re-organise the public space in ways that accommodate diversity. It reviews critically past empirical research and the scholarly theoretical literature on the topic. It conducts original empirical research on key events of national and European relevance that thematise different understandings and practices of tolerance. Bringing together empirical and theoretical findings, ACCEPT generates a State of the Art on Tolerance and Cultural Diversity in Europe targeting policy makers, NGOs and practitioners, a Handbook on Ideas of Tolerance and Cultural Diversity in Europe aimed to be used at upper high school level and with local/national policy makers, a Tolerance Indicators Toolkit where qualitative and quantitative indicators may be used to score each countrys performance on tolerating cultural diversity. These indicators will inform the evaluation and development of public policies in this area. Last but not least the ACCEPT project will produce a book manuscript on Tolerance, Pluralism and Cultural Diversity in Europe. The project includes direct communication and feedback mechanisms with civil society, political and media actors for the dissemination and exploitation of its findings.


Almeder C.,European University Viadrina | Hartl R.F.,University of Vienna
International Journal of Production Economics | Year: 2013

This work deals with a scheduling problem of a real-world production process in the metal-working industry. The production process can be described as an offline stochastic flexible flow-shop problem with limited buffers. In a first step, we analyze a simplified model and develop a variable neighborhood search based solution approach where we use multiple scenarios to evaluate the objective. Second, the solution approach is adapted to a real-world case using a detailed discrete-event simulation to evaluate the production plans. We are able to improve state-of-the-art production plans statistically significant by 3-10%. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.


Walach H.,European University Viadrina
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2011

Control conditions were introduced through the trial of Mesmerism in Paris. Placebo controls became codified standard in 1946. Although seemingly unchallenged, there are various problems with this received view. The notion of a placebo is only defined from the negative. A positive notion proposed that placebo effects are effects owing to the meaning an intervention has for an individual. Thus, placebo effects are individualized, whereas standard research paradigms reveal only grossly averaged behaviour. Also, placebo effects are context sensitive, dependent on psychological factors such as expectancy, relief of stress and anxiety, and hence can generate strong and long-lasting treatment effects. These, however, are not predictable. Such a situation can lead to the efficacy paradox: sometimes, sham interventions can be more powerful than proved, evidence-based treatments. This situation has methodological consequences. Placebo-controlled randomized trials reveal only part of the answer, whether an intervention is effective. This is valuable information for regulators, but not necessarily also for patients and of limited value for providers. Hence, I have argued that we need to complement the hierarchical model of evidence by a circular one, in which various methods are employed on equal footing to answer different questions. © 2011 The Royal Society.


Breitmoser Y.,European University Viadrina
International Journal of Industrial Organization | Year: 2012

In many industries, firms pre-order input and forward sell output prior to the actual production period. It is known that forward buying input induces a "Cournot-Stackelberg endogeneity" (both Cournot and Stackelberg outcomes may result in equilibrium) and forward selling output induces a convergence to the Bertrand solution. I analyze the generalized model where firms pre-order input and forward sell output. First, I consider oligopolists producing homogenous goods, generalize the Cournot-Stackelberg endogeneity to oligopoly, and show that it additionally includes Bertrand in the generalized model. This shows that the "mode of competition" between firms may be entirely endogenous. Second, I consider duopolies producing heterogenous goods. The set of equilibrium outcomes is characterized and shown not to contain the Bertrand solution anymore. Yet, forward sales increase welfare also in this case, notably even when goods are complements. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Kratke S.,European University Viadrina
European Urban and Regional Studies | Year: 2010

This article employs an actor network approach to the empirical analysis of knowledge networking in a case-study region in order to investigate the structure and properties of regional innovation networks in a detailed and nuanced way. Knowledge networks in terms of innovation-related cooperative interlinkages between firms and research establishments can be regarded as a relational component of regional innovation systems. The basic assumption is that connectivity in a regional knowledge network can positively contribute to a region's innovation capacity. The use of a social network analysis approach might enhance our understanding of knowledge networks in a regional context. This article presents the findings of a detailed network analysis of innovation-related cooperative interlinkages between public research establishments and private sector firms in a metropolitan region in Germany. © The Author(s), 2010.


Walach H.,European University Viadrina | Loef M.,European University Viadrina
Journal of Clinical Epidemiology | Year: 2015

Objectives The hierarchy of evidence presupposes linearity and additivity of effects, as well as commutativity of knowledge structures. It thereby implicitly assumes a classical theoretical model. Study Design and Setting This is an argumentative article that uses theoretical analysis based on pertinent literature and known facts to examine the standard view of methodology. Results We show that the assumptions of the hierarchical model are wrong. The knowledge structures gained by various types of studies are not sequentially indifferent, that is, do not commute. External validity and internal validity are at least partially incompatible concepts. Therefore, one needs a different theoretical structure, typical of quantum-type theories, to model this situation. The consequence of this situation is that the implicit assumptions of the hierarchical model are wrong, if generalized to the concept of evidence in total. Conclusion The problem can be solved by using a matrix-analytical approach to synthesizing evidence. Here, research methods that produce different types of evidence that complement each other are synthesized to yield the full knowledge. We show by an example how this might work. We conclude that the hierarchical model should be complemented by a broader reasoning in methodology. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-CIG | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-CIG | Award Amount: 75.00K | Year: 2014

The project Reconfigurations of Centre and Periphery in the European Union: a Discursive Political Study investigates the transformation and re-definition of centre and periphery in the European Union (EU) in the aftermath of the financial crisis. It starts from the observation that Eurozone crisis not only challenged the rationality of the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), but also damaged the project of developmental catch-up that was at the core of EU integration and expansion since the 1980s. While the crisis shattered the peripheral growth models linked to the appreciation of the Euro, the austerity-focussed crisis management overseen by the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) rendered difficult any new strategy of development in the affected countries, trapping them in persistent recession, if not political and social-humanitarian crisis. This has given rise to movements that question not only the burden-placing of crisis management, but also the model of EU economic integration and the way national economies and polities are bound up with it. However, those political forces maintained office who complied with EU/IMF credit conditionality, while the reform of the EMU upholds the established approach to economic integration through enhanced central oversight. The project investigates the hypothesis that the EUs looming legitimation crisis has partially been contained by the discursive-symbolic construction of hierarchies between debtor and creditor states and their constituent societies. Economic interdependencies may have limited the range of plausible alternatives of crisis management and EU/IMF conditionality the scope for their democratic negotiation. However, the construction of (creditor )centre and (debtor-)periphery in multilevel political communication is likely to have delimitated the discursive space in which Eurozone crisis management could be imagined and contested. For the investigation of these assumptions, a framework is developed that combines the discourse theory and analytics of linguistic Critical Discourse Analysis with insights in the political economy, governance and political communication of European integration. The project explores discourse practices that contributed to the construction of debtor-peripheries, including the symbolic performance of EU conditionality, mediatized crisis narratives and the ostracising (self )representation of marginalized groups. They are scrutinized in secondary and primary analyses of public statements by EU representatives; as well as by rival domestic camps and ordinary people in two countries, Greece and Ireland, who gained prominence as two different models of catch-up development. The discourse analysis is situated in an analysis of EU conditionality regimes and financial-economic interdependencies that emerged since the Maastricht Treaty. Insights will be used to consolidate an interdisciplinary research programme for the investigation of centre-periphery relations within the EU. They will also inform recommendations for trainings in reflexive EU literacy that includes the ability to switch between an EU-centric perspective and the perspective of the EU-subaltern that is subject to processes of EU integration with little capacity for co-determination.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-ERG | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2009-RG | Award Amount: 45.00K | Year: 2010

In spite of the supragenerational importance of the conservation services aiming to preserve the cultural heritage in the best possible way, one can observe that the communication between the providers and prospective beneficiaries of these services is rather imperfect. It is also observed that few actions aiming to raise the social awareness of the need for appropriate preservation of cultural heritage and - consequently - the public interest in and demand for conservation services. The negative results of these communication failures can be compensated if appropriate marketing tools be introduced that aim to eventually enhance the commercial accomplishments of a conservation service provider and primarily to raise the social awareness of how the cultural heritage should be appropriately taken care of. In her initial Marie Curie research, the Researcher carried out an empirical analysis of the Maltese conservation market, including an extensive analysis of the demand and the supply side, in order to provide basis for constructing theory in the novel field of marketing conservation services that would help to identify set of principles applicable by conservators in their professional practice, in particular in their communication with both, prospective and existing customers and with the general public. In view of the above and following the objectives set in her initial Marie Curie Fellowship, the Researcher aims to verify in this reintegration project the applicability of the previous findings in the wide European context. Having done that, she aims to draw up a handbook in marketing that would contain knowledge about the marketing mechanisms pertaining specifically to the conservation services. Such handbook would become a practical tool to be used by European conservators in their private practice and would help disseminating this novel knowledge among those whom it may concern.

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