The economy has to adjust to this

Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck

The two party leaders received a lot of support.

(Photo: dpa)

Berlin One brought the webcam into position with an ironing board, the other made do with a stepladder: Improvisation was in demand at the digital federal party conference of the Greens. For three days, the delegates discussed genetic engineering, the market economy and direct democracy in front of bookshelves and houseplants. The board of directors can be satisfied with the involuntary comedy of some video links, one or the other technical glitch and a massive delay. Largely at least.

Only when it was almost over did the top duo Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck pick up a setback: the party congress voted on Sunday afternoon to include a reference to the unconditional basic income in the party’s new guidelines. The federal board actually wanted to prevent that, it had spoken out in favor of a guarantee, which is tied to conditions. However, this concept also remained part of the program, so the two chairmen had to cope with the loss of the vote.

Especially in comparison to earlier party conventions, at which there were often violent arguments, it becomes clear that among today’s Greens, discipline and the will to power are greater than the desire for rebellion. In their new basic program, the Greens underline their government ambitions. Radical positions have been abolished. Pragmatism is the key ahead of the super election year 2021.

Transformation of the economy

The Greens are currently the smallest opposition faction in the Bundestag, but they have big plans. For the first time, said Habeck, a third party is seriously fighting for the leadership of this country. “I know it’s a high standard. A bold one, maybe a cheeky one. “

At the center of their ambitions: to reorganize the economic system, which “does not mean an overthrow”, but “pure self-protection” in view of the climate crisis, according to Baerbock. The Greens’ once cramped relationship with the economy has eased in recent years. The party offers itself to companies as a partner in the reconciliation of economy and ecology.


At the end of the federal party conference, only Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck are actually on the podium.

(Photo: dpa)

The attempt of some delegates to replace the term “socio-ecological market economy” in the basic program with “socio-ecological economy” failed. Nor was it questioned that economic growth is necessary and desirable – also in order to achieve the climate goals.

“Shrinking is not a solution,” said the economic policy spokeswoman, Katharina Dröge. Rather, it is about a fundamental economic change. “Production must become climate-neutral.” And of course growth is allowed, even urgently required, for example in the case of renewable energies.

The party also spoke out in favor of an active industrial policy. The economy, so Baerbock, needs clear conditions. “If the steel industry in Europe is to have a future, then it needs funding instruments for climate-neutral steel, a functioning CO2 price and prospects for which products this green steel will be used in the future.”

Of course, some rhetorical pats for the left wing were not missing: “We must finally put the well-being of the people at the center of our economic system instead of the profit maximization of individuals,” said Baerbock.

Kretschmann: “We need allies in business”

But the effort not to be perceived as an economic horror is now clearly visible in the Greens: The companies take away the people anyway, including coal miners and employees in the auto industry, that’s what they’re after. “Yes, we are fighting for more bicycles, but we are not demonizing the car, we are modernizing it and making it CO2-free,” said parliamentary group leader Anton Hofreiter.

Winfried Kretschmann, the only Prime Minister of the Greens, promised to be ready to talk. “We need allies in business,” emphasized Kretschmann. “For this we have to make compromises,” declared the head of government of Baden-Württemberg. “In the end, it’s about what we can do, not what we’d like to do.”


A party conference under special conditions: a film with Robert Habeck.

(Photo: dpa)

For a long time the Greens had a reputation for being anti-technology. But the party is trying to cast off the old image. A compromise was even found on the irritating topic of genetic engineering: the Greens agreed that “freedom of research” must also apply in agriculture.

The skepticism about the use of genetic engineering remains, of course. The aim must be, on the one hand, to guarantee freedom of research and, on the other hand, to exclude dangers to humans and the environment during use, says the future basic program.

The motion to ban returns in the real estate industry has also been ironed out. Here, too, the call for change is loud, but not in the brutal way: “We want to regulate and set guard rails, but not choke anything,” said the housing policy spokesman for the Green parliamentary group Chris Kühn.

Party leader Habeck said that “companies like Amazon and Facebook are still evading taxes, even though they benefit from our public infrastructure,” is no longer acceptable. “And yes, those who have very high assets and incomes will participate a little more than before in investing in our future.”

Criticism from the CDU

The transformation of the economy will cost a lot of money, the Greens know that. And that also explains why the party has its eye on the Treasury. From there, the party could implement the 500 billion euro investment program that it intends to launch for the next ten years.

Concepts like these call political opponents into action. Thomas Bareiß, Federal Government Commissioner for SMEs, considers many points in the Green program to be priceless. That puts a strain on the economy and endangers jobs, the CDU politician told the Handelsblatt. Nowadays in particular, the program ignores reality: “In the next few years, more than ever before, we need a policy that does not put additional strain on our economy and industry, but rather makes it strong and competitive.”

Bareiß also sees the Greens as far removed from the status of a people’s party. A people’s party must “take up the whole breadth of our lives,” said the parliamentary state secretary in the Federal Ministry of Economics. “The Greens are far from that.”

More: The Greens still have to work on these problems before the general election.


Covid tracing: Welcome to data protection schizophrenia

Miriam Meckel

The author is the founder and CEO of ada Learning GmbH.

(Foto: Frank Beer [M])

Thank heaven. Or rather the constructive collaboration between the German company Biontech and the US company Pfizer. A vaccine against Covid-19 should be available soon. Social isolation, dying restaurants, drastic economic collapses, all of this may then be a thing of the past.

It is impressive how much the discussion about how to deal with the corona pandemic is determined by opposites: public health versus economy, vaccination versus prevention, data protection versus health care. In fact, the truth is arguably somewhere in the gray area in between. We all have to navigate these days.

Unfortunately, politics is rather clumsy about this. It does not succeed, which helps many companies, from start-ups to large corporations, time and again to change with the pulse of the times in order to offer the best solutions. In Silicon Valley, this means pivoting: turning when the conditions make it necessary.

This would have been necessary when using the corona tracing app. Developed in the first phase of the pandemic, the app arose out of a situation of uncertainty. Lobby groups quickly came to the scene to polemicize the use of tracing technology. According to the demand, the app’s data should only be stored in a decentralized manner, otherwise privacy would end.

In the middle of the second corona wave, we know: You could and should have used the summer months to evaluate the experiences of the first pandemic phase and to fundamentally improve the app. Because this second wave came with force. Again, social life is restricted, the economy suffers. Could the app have helped here? That would have needed a pivot in terms of privacy.

The technical basics of the app only allow decentralized data storage. This is an important and correct approach to protecting the privacy of users. But the fixation on “decentralized” has degenerated into an undifferentiated lobby topic in many places. Scientific studies show that even decentralized solutions do not always protect against misuse. In some places they even make access to personal data easier.

Above all, however, the following applies: Whoever uses Google, Facebook, Tiktok delivers their data to the central server of the respective company every second. We find that unproblematic, but refuse to be as open with our data when it comes to our own health and that of other people? To have the opportunity to meet, eat in a restaurant and avoid an economic slump? As Friedrich Dürrenmatt once said: The rational in people are the insights they have. The irrational thing about him is that he doesn’t act on it.

Google records everything

This leads to ludicrous situations: In our neighboring country Switzerland, which uses a comparable tracing app, human contact tracers ask those affected to take a look at their “Google Maps History” together. It records precisely when and where you have been. So we use the extensive decentralized data storage of a US tech group to compensate for the shortcomings of the Covid app. Welcome to privacy schizophrenia.

The Corona app has now been voluntarily downloaded around 22 million times. So not even a quarter of the population uses them. Calculations show that the consistent use of contact tracing, including a functional app, is around 30 times cheaper than a lockdown. The new lockdown for November could cost the German economy around 20 billion euros. In a nutshell, this means that the Germans are again paying around 2500 euros per person for the lack of commitment and the limited technical possibilities of contact tracing.

In a social market economy, the positive rights of economic freedom and a way of life that is largely undisturbed by the state are combined with a few obligations: occasionally to put personal interests aside when it comes to the good of the community. In political pandemic management, this consideration hardly takes place. Too little technical understanding is paired with a lot of fear of public debate.

It looks like they want to hold on to the wandering dance between freedom and restriction until the vaccine finally solves all problems. This is a shame, as it costs many people’s health and all of us a lot of money.

But maybe a pharmaceutical consortium will develop a vaccination against discouragement and inconsistency.

More: Corona digitization helper: This is how the pandemic is having a global impact


Leaves three dead road in Tamaulipas

The accident occurred on the federal highway to Matamoros. Photo: Alfredo Peña


Three people traveling in a compact car were killed when crashing into a trailer, in the federal highway to Matamoros 30 minutes north of the capital of Tamaulipas.

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Officers of the General Research Unit of the Güemez municipality They reported that the highway occurred at 03:30 am at kilometer 31.

They said that they were three young people and that they had their domicile in Victoria City.

The now deceased were speeding in a Volkswaguen Jetta car with license plates. Tamaulipas and they moved from north to south.

When they invaded the opposite lane, they hit a single container trailer, pulverizing the vehicle in the face of the strong impact.

You can also read: At least 15 injured in Naucalpan-Toluca highway crash

The truck operator stopped to wait for him to come to find out.

The driver died at the site and hours later, at the hospital, the other two.

The police are investigating if they were under the influence of alcohol since beer was found inside.

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“No hurdles for sharing abuse photos”

EU Interior Commissioner Ylva Johansson has warned strongly against weakening the fight against the spread of photos and videos of abused children on the Internet. If there is no interim solution, there will soon be “no obstacles for pedophiles to upload and share,” said the Swede of the German press agency. She spoke of a “global disaster”. The background to this is that companies such as Facebook and Google messages sent via their services will soon no longer be allowed to scan with certain filters in the EU as things stand.

That is why Johansson is promoting the transitional arrangement. “I will never accept that the privacy of users is more important than the privacy of child victims.” It is of the utmost urgency that the EU states and the European Parliament come to an agreement by December 21st.

E-mails fall under the digital secrecy of letters

Because then the update of the code for electronic communication will take effect in the EU. Communication services such as e-mail or messenger programs will therefore in future fall under the EU’s digital confidentiality. Corporations such as Facebook, Google or Microsoft are no longer allowed to scan the messages via their mail and messenger services for abuse. So far, they have used certain technology to filter the messages sent to representations that are already known and have been provided with a type of digital fingerprint. According to its own information, the Federal Criminal Police Office also benefits from the information they receive in this way.

To enable this procedure to continue, the EU Commission proposed an interim solution in September. However, there are major reservations in the European Parliament and among data protectionists. Parliament still has to agree on its own position before it can start negotiations with the EU states.


Augustus Intelligence burned millions of euros from investors

San Francisco, Düsseldorf Prince Stefan von und zu Liechtenstein reports bad news to investors on October 9, 2020. Augustus Intelligence had to “significantly reduce its workforce and refocus”, writes the chairman of the advisory board of the German-American start-up.

A “pandemic of the century” has “thrown the world markets and many national economies into the unknown,” explains the nobleman from the principality, who is his main job ambassador to the Vatican. According to Handelsblatt information, the company has laid off 29 employees, almost half of the remaining workforce.

But that has only to do with the pandemic to a limited extent. The company, founded in 2018 by the medical graduate Wolfgang Haupt, has become as famous as it is notorious in the Amthor affair. Whenever Haupt had to explain his business model, he boasted of artificial intelligence, voice and face recognition. A German Palantir seemed to emerge or even a Google.

With such promises, the company has raised $ 34.5 million – including from unsuspecting investors. This is shown by documents that are available to the Handelsblatt and discussions with numerous ex-employees and investors.

Much of the money now seems to be wasted due to a lack of strategy and a presentable product. After four boss changes, a takeover that caused many problems, and the loss of numerous employees and powerful friends, the company is looking for money again.

Where to take and not to steal? On the list of 40 investors, dated June 8th, there are no venture capital funds and virtually no AI expertise. As a rule, start-ups want to have as few co-decision-makers as possible, but those who know their way around. Augustus’ list makes it appear that Haupt and his influential friends have phoned their Rolodexes.

The private bank heir and AfD donor August François von Finck put 11.4 million US dollars in Augustus, Stefan von und zu Liechtenstein around five and Karl Theodor zu Guttenberg (CSU), once Federal Minister of Economics and Defense, 1.7 million dollars .

Two siblings from the Swarovski clan were there with amounts in the millions, ex-Bild editor-in-chief Kai Diekmann with a little over $ 100,000. A German professor and ex-government official put almost half a million dollars in Augustus; he knows Haupt privately.

For some it was play money, for some it was a lot of money. The investors were apparently promised “Something with AI”: One talks about data centers, another about autonomous cars. It should also have been about an “app store for AI applications”.

One possible reason for the operational problems: Despite a completely unclear business model, the founders gathered numerous German political and economic giants around them – some with a dubious reputation and without experience of running a start-up.

Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg

The former Federal Minister of Defense was temporarily “Chairman for General Affairs” of Augustus Intelligence.

(Photo: dpa)

Karl Theodor zu Guttenberg was temporarily “Chairman for General Affairs” of Augustus Intelligence. Ex-Roland Berger boss Charles-Édouard Bouée called himself “Chairman of Business Affairs”. Ex-BND boss August Hanning and ex-constitution protection chief Hans-Georg Maaßen also belonged to the circle around founder Wolfgang Haupt.

Philipp Amthor, a CDU member of the Bundestag, was even an active politician who was the company’s director – rewarded with the option to purchase Augustus shares, which were worth $ 250,000 at the time of issue and which should increase in value.

Amthor used Bundestag letterhead to ensure that Haupt and co-founder Pascal Weinberger received appointments at the Ministry of Economic Affairs. In a WhatsApp group, they exchanged private messages with Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU).

Supporters are now turning away: Guttenberg, Bouée and Amthor left the company in the summer. After the “Spiegel” questioned Amthor’s role, the 28-year-old called the engagement a “mistake” and gave the options back.

Founders with no apparent AI experience

However, many questions remain open to this day – such as how the unknown US start-up gets millions from Amthor’s constituency. The KRC Beteiligungen, behind which the entrepreneur Klaus Keunecke from Strasburg in the Uckermark stands, has invested almost 1.7 million dollars in Augustus.

Did the member of the Bundestag attract a major investor to the Augustus founders? Liechtenstein told the “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” that he was very involved, even when it was “about discussions with investors”.

And the relationship can be traced: In December 2019, the member of the Bundestag spoke about rent policy at a reception given by Keunecke’s real estate appraisal office in Berlin. In the 2017 federal election campaign, the CDU young star visited the Keunecke Gutsverwaltung in Strasburg. Those affected did not respond to questions.

Prince Stefan of Liechtenstein was convinced by Haupt himself. Through his family’s Valnon Holding, he invested two million dollars, personally with 100,000 dollars. In May 2020, the holding is said to have injected another three million dollars. The nobleman does not want to say anything about the investments.

Philipp Amthor

The CDU MP has campaigned for the start-up Augustus Intelligence.

(Photo: Philipp Spalek / laif)

Liechtenstein got to know Haupt when the student invited the then ambassador of the Principality to Berlin to give a lecture at his university. They kept in touch. Later, the young entrepreneur Haupt sold a mobile fitness device with the company Active Cross, which was supposed to simulate skiing. Liechtenstein still has two of them today. The company went bankrupt in 2016 after major US commercialization plans failed.

Haupt had no experience with AI start-ups, nor did he have a discernible strategy for it. Even so, his company received nearly $ 35 million at a valuation of over $ 250 million. For comparison: Facebook received $ 12.7 million in the first round of funding with a valuation of just under $ 100 million.

Liechtenstein regards the unclear goals as uncritical. “Trends in the field of artificial intelligence develop faster than handbags go out of fashion,” he says. If you make business plans in this area, you have to be very quick. “It’s like driving in fog: you suddenly see opportunities – and bang – the competition has already implemented them.”

Prince Stefan from and to Liechtenstein

“Trends in the field of artificial intelligence develop faster than handbags go out of fashion”

(Foto: picture alliance / obs)

Might be. But instead of working on opportunities, Augustus polished the facade. Other start-ups start in the garage, Augustus moved into the One World Trade Center in New York. The lease should run for more than four years.

Business plans apparently changed depending on the weather: Liechtenstein told the “NZZ” in August that it was considering building a data center in Amthor’s home town of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

Because Augustus still had no products, customers or sales in mid-2019, the start-up bought two companies: XBrain, which develops chatbot software for customer service, and Moblty.

“I don’t even know who cheated on whom more”

The company sold smart screens for retail branches, and its well-known customer was the US pharmacy chain CVS. “The ‘make or buy’ principle applies to technology companies,” explains Liechtenstein about the takeovers. “With the companies we have brought highly talented technicians into the company.”

And a lot of problems: “I don’t even know who cheated on whom more,” says a former Moblty executive. The start-up had consumed around 30 million dollars from investors since it was founded in 2012, and according to employees, the company fell behind with the payment of salaries in 2019.

Augustus only paid Moblty’s investors out with shares in a sub-holding that Augustus controls. However, a contract shows that the new owner had to put $ 2.5 million into the holding at the beginning because the business burns money so quickly.

Augustus did not answer questions about this. Acquisition and installation of the displays equipped with cameras cost more than the start-up earned. “The Augustus management would have found out with a minimum of due diligence,” says the ex-Moblty employee.

To date, however, almost every dollar of August sales comes from the unprofitable operation of the screens, Moblty’s former investors complain in a letter.

Charles-Édouard Buoy

The well-networked top consultant was temporarily at the helm of Augustus.

(Photo: Thomas Dashuber for Handelsblatt)

At the request of the Handelsblatt, the company cannot present new customers, although the well-networked top consultant Bouée and his ex-Roland Berger colleague Anne Bioulac were at the top for a time. After all, when Augustus pitched his chatbot software to a CVS subsidiary, Google and IBM made it to the last round, the company explains.

This Wednesday, the fifth CEO started in less than six months, New York investor Arya Bolurfrushan. Ten of the eleven-strong management team in a company presentation from September 2019 were fired or left. Two of them are suing the company for making false promises – an arbitration process is ongoing.

The remaining founder Wolfgang Haupt has stepped aside as boss. As the majority owner, he still has great power with Augustus. “In my opinion, you shouldn’t separate a founder from his start-up without good reason,” says Liechtenstein.

But the 34-year-old has brought the start-up closer to the secret services through his contacts with Maaßen and Hanning. This doesn’t make it easier to market the cameras to retailers. Such quarrels plunged Augustus into a deep crisis: while the start-up had 94 employees in the spring, there are now only 34.

In September, those who remained were said to have learned in an all-hands meeting that Augustus was looking for investors again to improve the financial situation. “AI has solid financing and is well positioned after the restructuring,” the company comments on its financial situation. “This made the runway longer.”

Prince Stefan von und zu Liechtenstein is optimistic about finding investors in the foreseeable future – when calm returns.

More: Amthor’s stock options would have been worth up to $ 250,000.


New laws should allow data access

IIn everyday life, hardly any consumer on the Internet can escape the major operators of platforms that digitally link providers and consumers of products and services through the exchange of information. Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon lead the field for which the acronym Gafa-Ökonomie has become established. Google dominates the general research market with its search engine and the user-generated video business with Youtube. With its App Store, Apple plays a gatekeeper role in the distribution of application software for smartphones and tablets and is consistently expanding its power in the music streaming and download market. Facebook operates the largest social network and reaches countless people with its media sharing app Instagram and the messenger service Whatsapp. Amazon is about to increase its share of German online retail to more than 50 percent.

The economic power of Gafa, combined with their handling of user data, political advertising campaigns, copyrights, neutrality requirements, hate speech and proprietary offers, has led to the digital corporations being viewed critically. The Gafa-Wirtschaft sees itself confronted with a multitude of initiatives aimed at counteracting the social and economic damage that the four players may cause. The federal government has identified “a competition policy for the digital age” as an important lever for limiting the influence of the platforms.

With kid gloves

That is why the Ministry of Economic Affairs presented the draft of a “digitization law” for the law against restraints of competition (GWB), which is considered the constitution of the social market economy in Germany. A central element of the design is a requirement for companies to access data from dominant platform operators. The list of bans on behavior for dominant companies is to be expanded to include the refusal to grant other companies “access to data … for a reasonable fee”. The Bundeskartellamt is to be given the authority to prohibit “companies with overriding cross-market importance for competition” from “erecting barriers to entry” through the exclusive use of data they have collected on dominated markets. The idea behind this is that by collecting and evaluating data from visitors to their platforms, digital giants can tailor offers better than their competitors, provided that the user data is only available to them.

By lowering the barriers to data access claims, it is hoped to strengthen competition so that damage does not occur in the first place. Similar obligations have contributed to more competition and pressure on end customers in other industries such as telecommunications and power supply. Such effects are not to be expected with the digital platforms, because the federal government only handles the powerful players with kid gloves when regulating data access. Four shortcomings are particularly serious.

A big hurdle

First, neither the law itself nor the reasons for the law clarify how broadly the term “data” should be interpreted. In order for access to the platform operator’s data to have the desired effects, it is essential not to limit the entitlement to usage profiles of certain people or “things” that cannot otherwise be obtained with reasonable effort. Such data do not justify the advantages of platform operators. Rather, it is the algorithms with which they are evaluated. The law should therefore be amended so that a precisely defined right extends to access to such programs.


Streaming: the Paris Opera has captured it all

The Paris Opera is still moving and intends to get out of the bad luck in which it has been stuck for a year. A press conference organized remotely this Friday by the new director, Alexander Neef, the dance director, Aurélie Dupont, and the deputy director general, Martin Ajdari, made it possible to specify the contours of the disaster but also a promising vision for the future: investing in digital technology.

Read alsoOperas in Paris: Alexander Neef in the wolf pit

Building on the streaming experiences of the first confinement (2.5 million views) and pending the reopening of its theaters (Bastille in a week and Garnier in January), the Paris Opera will throw its last strength into a virtual broadcast formula via the creation of a new platform – the Opera at Home – which should be fully operational in the first half of 2021. A paid streaming broadcast of a ballet evening on Facebook on November 13 was shown. encouraging: 5,000 live spectators, 6,500 in total having bought the program for nearly 5 euros (4.49 euros but we don’t count), and good technical and artistic feedback. This capture provided turnkey by the American giant made some jaws cringe. The Paris Opera is therefore resuming itself with the desire to control all of its broadcasts.

Champion of national operatic streaming

The project consists of recovering the rights to all recordings since 2012 and offering them on the platform, as well as organizing live events (opera, ballet, concerts), but also presenting courses and masterclasses. Access will be mixed: free (for the majority of covers) but also paid, with different price ranges. If nothing has been decided for the moment, Martin Ajdari considered that a price of up to 5 euros for covers and 10 to 15 euros for live broadcasts was a basis for reflection in a system where the economic model remains to be found. The next live has been announced: the Bayadere, scheduled for mid-December.

The desire to irrigate all corners of the country via the Internet in order to fulfill its public service missions, or even find new spectators, is of course a step forward. But in the background, the institution wishes to pose as a champion of national operatic streaming, as the Philharmonie de Paris is for the concert with its Philharmonie Live platform, without finding itself dependent on broadcasters. The production methods will be varied: delegated co-producer for the “major recordings” of opera (whose invoices can be around 100,000 euros per show, depending on the figure provided by a professional), and which will also be broadcast by partner channels such as Arte or France Télévisions; producer for smaller forms, such as chamber concerts or workshops, with choice of service provider.

Calamitous financial situation

This initiative seems logical on the part of a large opera house which seeks to maintain its preeminence on all media, but remains ambitious at a time when theaters are looking for means of distribution to save their current productions and where the visibility of ‘a post-reconfinement return to full gauges is almost zero.

Especially since the financial situation of the institution is calamitous: nearly 50 million euros of losses in one year, a bailout from the state which has advanced an aid program of 81 million euros over three years (including 20 million already planned for work), non-existent productions and an endlessly impoverished Ring, which following the health problems has gone from a flamboyant stage version to a concert opera broadcast on the radio with change of casting (out Kaufmann and Westbroek, hello Skelton and Davidsen) having also suffered delays due to a case of Covid in the orchestra. To give themselves courage, Neef, master of vision, and Ajdari, master of figures, with many Power Point tables, put their finger on the Achilles heel of the Paris Opera: despite the huge subsidy given by the State to the institution (95 million), it has been declining for ten years and does not cover the theater in working order (120 million). At the slightest stop to the shows, the opera plunges. This has been the case for a year. Hopefully digital shows him the way to the curb.

Guillaume Tion


Bug in Facebook Messenger allows you to listen in on conversations

20. November 2020 – A leak in Facebook’s Messenger WebRTC protocol allowed possible attackers to overhear conversations unnoticed. Now Facebook has leased the bug.

Facebook has fixed a security flaw in the Android version of the Messenger app. This offered attackers the opportunity to establish voice connections without the knowledge of the user. According to a report by “”, the bug was discovered by Natalie Silvanovich from Google’s Project Zero team. The bug can be found in the WebRTC protocol, which is used for audio and video calls. As can be read in a bug report, it only takes a few seconds before the audio signals of the attacked device can be played on the hacker’s speakers.

The bug was discovered on October 6th and reported to Facebook. If Facebook had not patched, the security breach would have been made public on January 4, 2021 90 days after it was discovered. (win)


EU Super Commissioner Thierry Breton: “Europe is acting, the US is fighting”

THierry Breton reports from Paris for the interview. From there he takes part in the virtual WELT European Summit, where he debates with managers and other top politicians about Europe’s future and the role of the continent in the world.

Usually, however, the European Super-Commissioner for the Internal Market works in Brussels. There, his employees are currently working with officials from other commissioners on a new law for digital companies.

The new set of rules will determine digitization in Europe for years, if not decades. But of course, the topic of the second wave of the corona pandemic is currently predominant at Breton.

also read

FILE PHOTO: European Union Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton talks to journalists during an online news conference at the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium September 3, 2020. Francisco Seco/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

WORLD: The second wave of Covid infections is currently sweeping across Europe. So far, the capitals have reacted very carefully, the borders have only been closed in isolated cases. Do we have to be afraid that this will change soon?

Thierry Breton: The second wave is no surprise. It was always clear that she would come in October. A lot went wrong with the first wave, so we’ve been preparing all summer to do a lot better this autumn. More tests that leave the Corona warning apps and the limits open, that’s all part of it. In September after the summer vacation, the first thing I did was write to all the European economics ministers to appeal to them not to close the borders. I’ve been in contact with them every week since then, and the borders are still open. We cannot afford closed borders a second time. And we will not see any more border closings in Europe.

also read

WELT European Summit - Paris 2020 - with Christoph Keese, Thomas Buberl and Mathias Döpfner - Armin Laschet

WORLD: However, Hungary and Denmark have already raised their borders. And months after the outbreak of the first wave, not all warning apps can exchange data. Is Europe too fragmented to contain the pandemic?

Breton: No way. Europe is a continent and a democracy, both in the Member States and at European level. Take a look at last week’s US election. The US is practically a continent. And there, too, there are enormous differences between the states, including in the electoral systems. You have to accept such differences in democracies with hundreds of millions of citizens. Europe works. In July we agreed on a € 750 billion reconstruction plan. In the US, on the other hand, there is still no stimulus package because the House of Representatives and the Senate are arguing. Europe acts while the US argue.

WORLD: So the US state works less well than the European Union with its 27 member states?

Breton: I would never say that. I love the USA and admire how the Americans built their country, including on European values ​​like democracy and the rule of law. The United States was born when around 50 states decided to work together on their future. But to this day there are big differences between the states. Alaska, Idaho and New Jersey are worlds apart. But the US works anyway because Americans accept that these differences exist. We Europeans have to be more pragmatic and accept that Europe also includes differences and differences of opinion. It works as long as we have common goals and interests.

also read

05/13/2020, Belgien, Brussels: © Nicolas Landemard / Le Pictorium / MAXPPP - Nicolas Landemard / Le Pictorium - 05/13/2020 - Belgium / Bruxelles / Bruxelles - press conference by Thierry Breton and Mme Vestager concerning aid and European proposals to revive tourism and transport after the Coronavirus crisis.  / 05/13/2020 - Belgium / Brussels / Brussels - press conference by Thierry Breton and Mrs.  Vestager concerning European aid and proposals to relaunch tourism and transport after the Coronavirus crisis.  Photo: Nicolas Landemard / Le Pictorium / MAXPPP / dpa |

Response to strategy paper

WORLD: You are currently facing US digital dominance. The EU Commission wants to pull the big digital platforms such as Facebook, Google and Amazon closer on a leash, break their market power and make them more responsible for the content they distribute than before.

Breton: We need stricter rules for platforms because some of them are now systemically relevant, not only in the digital world, but also in our economies and societies. Compare it to the regulation of banks during the financial crisis. They were a risk to the stability of the financial system because they were “too big to fail” and therefore had to be trimmed and monitored more closely. We don’t have such problems in the digital area yet, but the big platforms are now “too big to care”, too big to take their social responsibility seriously. Despite many beautiful words, you have the feeling that these platforms don’t care about the social consequences. That is why we have to give them stricter rules before the first problems we have become crises.

WORLD: The laws for this are being written. If you complain that the platforms are too big to worry about, are you considering breaking up the businesses?

Breton: I never thought about smashing Google or Facebook. That is being discussed in Brussels, but it is a misguided discussion that has nothing to do with the actual thinking in the Commission. Nobody in the commission wants to break up platforms. We have excellent competition rules in Europe, which already give the Commission the opportunity to impose antitrust penalties, prohibit takeovers and mergers or require companies to split off parts of their companies or to withdraw from certain markets if they want to take over other companies.

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WORLD: So companies like Google or Facebook don’t have to worry about stricter rules?

Breton: Whether it is about banks, car emissions or online platforms: strict rules must be enforceable. This of course includes deterrent sanctions if the rules of the game are not respected. Especially when companies repeatedly or permanently violate European rules. To do this, we need the appropriate arsenal of possible measures: impose fines that exclude companies or parts of their services from the internal market, insist that they split up if they want to keep access to the internal market, or a combination of all of these. But that only applies to companies that do not adhere to our rules, and the toughest measures would only be used in exceptional cases.

WORLD: The companies are not only suspected of abusing their market power. Fake news is also distributed via the platforms.

Breton: Democracy and the rule of law are European concepts, and we must defend them in the digital world too. Otherwise we risk everything that we have built in Europe over the past half century. Everything that is allowed in real life should also be allowed online, and everything that is forbidden offline must also be prohibited online. That is our guideline. Anyone who insults others on the street with racist abuse can be punished, and that must then also be illegal on the platforms.

The platforms must therefore be able to recognize who their users are so that they can pass on the data to the law enforcement authorities in the event of criminal offenses. It’s not about questioning freedom of expression. Publication under anonymous or pseudonymous cover must of course still be possible. But as soon as a certain audience threshold is reached, the platform must be able to locate such an influencer if necessary.

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FILE PHOTO: The logos of Amazon Apple Facebook and Google

Regulation by Google and Co.

WORLD: At the beginning of December, you will introduce the Digital Services Act. Will there be rules on fake news in it?

Breton: You have to imagine the law for digital services like Lego: It is the basis for the regulation of platforms of all kinds and we can dock specific laws and requirements to this today and in the years to come. For example, on terrorism, child pornography, hate speech or fake news. For example, Vice-President Schinas and Commissioner Johansson are working on a regulation to prevent the spread of terrorist content online – a proposal has already been submitted to the Member States and the European Parliament. Other topics will be added in the coming years. That is why the Digital Services Act is open and flexible. Whatever justice ministers want to regulate later, they can simply use the DSA.

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The French Thierry Breton, 65, studied electrical engineering and computer science. He then worked as a teacher, then founded a software company. In 1990 he became managing director of the IT company CGI. This was followed by positions at the top of various companies, for example France Telecom. In 2005 he became Minister of Finance under President Chirac. After leaving, he took on a teaching position at Harvard Business School. Since the end of 2019 he has been the EU Commissioner for Internal Market and Industrial Policy.

This text is from WELT AM SONNTAG. We are happy to deliver them to your home on a regular basis.

Source: Welt am Sonntag


_Jeanne_Dark_, first theatrical show entirely performed live Instagram

“Instagram only prolongs the totally obsessive relationship that Catholicism maintains with images: in religious paintings, as on Instagram, you have to arouse desire without ever showing a nipple or a penis, explained, in September, the young director Marion Siéfert at the Festival d’Automne in Paris. We must respect prohibitions and rules of modesty while leading the viewer to adore the image and what it represents. ” So Jeanne D’Arc, today, is called _jeanne_dark_ on social networks. From her room in Orléans, live on Instagram, the teenager ends up confiding in complete privacy to her very many followers: she is 16 years old and does not like her pussy at all, moreover look at the shape it is when it’s molded. Suddenly, she is terrified: it is sure, the students of the high school are right to harass her, with the face she has, with her catho side stuck, she will remain a virgin for eternity. Hell. It is the story of a young girl, caught like any teenager, in indemitable shackles and who seeks tools to emancipate herself. At other times, some would have advised him to go to war or to do theater. She, chose another scene to confess and, from there, come true: Instagram.

Read also “Jeanne Dark”, a teenager at the digital stake

Played by the actress Helena de Laurens, since the beginning of October, both for the space of the theater, but also that of the Web simultaneously, this very curious dual-media performance is the only one able to play with dignity in full confinement. . Many pieces are currently filmed in empty rooms and broadcast live stream for social networks. But far from these devious versions, _jeanne_dark_ is unique in that it was entirely designed for a social network and all its modalities of interactivity (live comments, emoticors, potions, insults and smileys). Ultra unbridled intimate diary, introspective and initiatory journey of a teenager towardsempowerment (as Beyoncé would say), the show is normally filmed on a cell phone from a theater stage. Since confinement, he has been able to find the means to adapt to continue the tour – an opportunity to multiply the followers, perhaps future spectators in the theater, who sometimes have nothing of the usual profile of “subscribers”. Libé spoke with his brilliant director.

Your show on and about Instagram, _jeanne_dark_, was born this fall. One would think it was designed on purpose to adapt to our times of confinement …

While not at all! I thought of this device before the pandemic and the theaters closed. Contrary to what one might think today, this creation is therefore not a response to the health crisis, even if its device allows us to maintain performance dates. It is a work that I imagined both for a stage / room space and for Instagram, simultaneously. The spectators in the room see a teenage girl absorbed by her image, filming herself on a mobile phone to make a live. The screen of his phone appears on two giant screens, and we see the comments left by the followers of the _jeanne_dark_ account. I think this is the first time that there has been a show designed for Instagram, in a continuation of 1h45 of live. Usually, there are small, humorous one-minute video thumbnails. Here, the type of skill and interaction is an integral part of the story: the metamorphosis of a teenage girl, who takes power as she speaks.

The actress Helena de Laurens, who plays “Jeanne”, will be live three evenings this week. Will it be filmed from the stage of an empty theater?

Not at all, from the room of an apartment loaned by the Théâtre de la Commune d’Aubervilliers, which is the co-producer of the work. The piece has just been created, we were on tour. Considering its device, it seemed unthinkable to us not to adapt the experience for the 4,000 people who now follow the account of “Jeanne” on Instagram. We therefore proposed to four theaters (the Arles theater, the New Generation theater in Lyon, the Tulle National Stage and the Liège theater) to pool their forces in order to be able to carry out an adaptation, from a room. For me, the space of the theater only goes with its audience. If the hall is not inhabited, I have no interest in playing in front of it. It turned us on quite a bit, actually. We arranged the bedroom with scenographer Nadia Lauro, so as to recreate an abstract teenage bedroom. It is not illustrative with posters of the stars of which Jeanne would be a fan, but a more strange intimacy space, with very thick white carpet.

Have you considered the paid live-stream format with these theaters, as we see increasing on social networks? And by the way, why Instagram and not Facebook Live?

Oh no, we did not consider paying at all. It must remain super accessible. This device was precisely a means of opening wide the doors of the theater, so it is not to recreate a new airlock. Then, Facebook is not the social network for young people. To portray a 16-year-old girl without mentioning Instagram, that seemed unthinkable to me. And I chose this social network for the type of audience to which it gives me access. There was hope to reach more the youth of today.

And you touch them? Are there many, these teenagers, to connect to the lives of “Jeanne”?

Yes and no. It takes time, obviously. At the beginning, the followers of “Jeanne” were mainly people who already know my work but little by little it diversifies. Many middle school and high school students came, and as Instagram is a tool that they master much more than us, they also took control of the life of the play … Little by little, word of mouth from the networks social started to function. And we started to see that a fairly influential group of American rap fans were following us, for example, and had really liked the play, so it’s starting to come out of the usual circuits of public theater.

What kind of feedback do you get from these young spectators?

What comes back is that they really like the interactive side, being able to leave comments and have the character respond to them. The live of “Jeanne” is almost an Instagram hack but there is no ambiguity for a long time: the followers quickly understand that they are in front of a fiction. Most, on the other hand, often take a while to realize that their comments are appearing on the big screen in front of a theater full of spectators (well, normally). Afterwards, in relation to the character of “Jeanne”, what comes back is the great ambivalence of feelings towards her, which is quite normal since we are trying to restore all the contradictions of the social network, of the use made of it by teenagers, of the relationship to intimacy, to masks and to unveiling, to metamorphosis, to the invention of oneself. It is ultimately a very uncomfortable piece, which speaks a lot about taboos linked to sexuality in particular, a straitjacket from which the teenager tries to emancipate herself in a gesture that is both very liberating and very embarrassing! In this, we understand that the live is not at all realistic because Jeanne goes very far in the intimacy. There is a lot of discussion around the framing since the character gradually becomes very, very uninhibited.

For “Jeanne”, who is harassed at school, Instagram becomes what theater was before, the place of catharsis …

She takes Instagram as her theater space. She makes it a place where speaking out becomes liberating. I thought a lot about rapper Eminem, when I created the piece. Someone who starts from his situation of humiliation and who, through rap, goes beyond social stigma, reverses the insult and returns the dirt. In the play, there is the question of having the last word.

It is a play that speaks a lot about the weight of religious education, here a Catholic education.

Yes, and it was interesting to see the degree of identification, very strong, of the teenage spectators of Muslim faith. But also teenagers raised in an atheistic culture, who wonder about the place of spirituality. I met a lot of young girls for the creation of the play and the fact of talking about the weight of religion, for once from the Catholic religion, relaxed the dialogue a lot. The play is based on my memories as a teenager. But the starting point is also my previous piece, For sale!, interpreted by two young girls in full introspection. Inside, Laetitia, who is a rapper, said speaking about me: “She’s white, she doesn’t come from the same background as me, I can’t decipher the emotions on her face.” I wanted to try my hand at the same unveiling that I had asked them to do. And also speak from this “white world” from which I come.

The night we saw the play, the comments were mostly benevolent …

Ah, it really depends on the performances. There were also haters, trolls. And the actress, Helena de Laurens, must be able to react on stage to these comments too. Afterwards, there are also some followers who come back to several performances, who talk to each other, recognize each other, write when they are hungry and go to eat pasta …

Are you curious about the few virtual theatrical experiences that have arisen with confinement?

It interests me when the digital tool is part of the concept. But I am more skeptical of the recordings, when the pieces are filmed in a monumental way, with this classy, ​​museum side, in a profusion of means, for some. The show is not just what happens on stage, it is also the energy of a room, the very slight sensation of taking a risk. The recordings are devouring in terms of energy and resources, it only concerns an audience of hyper aficionados, or at a pinch of researchers, but it is completely beside the point, in my opinion, if the ‘we hope to reach other spectators.

November 18, 19 and 20 at 8:30 p.m., from the Instagram account @_jeanne_dark_

Eve Beauvallet