About Me

I am a researcher at the Secure Information Technology (SIT) research group at TU Darmstadt. My research interests are in applied cryptography, privacy enhancing technologies (PETs) and Internet infrastructure security. My current focus is on cryptographic protocols and, in particular, practical aspects of secure multiparty computation. I am also interested in bridging tech-policy gap.

Recent Blog Posts

Ikiru and Meaning-making

“What would you do if you had 6 months to live?”

That’s the question Kanji Watanabe is faced with in Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru (1952).

Watanabe has spent most of his life at the city office. He is always busy, as are his colleagues. Yet, if one were to ask him what he does, there is not much that he can say. He stamps papers and moves them from one pile to another. If there is a request for action, he directs it to another department. He has, what we might call, a bullshit job.

Favourite Books 2020

These are the books that I enjoyed reading the most this year.

  1. The Code of Capital - Katherina Pistor

    The thesis of this book is that capital is coded in law. Ordinary assets can be transformed into capital “by cloaking it in the legal modules that were also used to code asset-backed securities and their derivatives.” While laws evolve and are uncertain, global commerce has moved to get over these obstacles by getting states to recognize foreign laws. This way capital chooses which law applies to it.

  2. You’re Not Listening - Kate Murphy

    This book asks: What prevents us from listening well? What is good listening? How do we become a good listener? While going through this book, I recognized that being comfortable in silence with a person indicates my willingness to listen to them.

Links - Centralization

  • Clouding Up the Internet

    While there is talk of centralization of the Internet and breaking up of Big Tech, this discussion is often limited to the application layer of the Internet. What about the infrastructure? This research paper by Moura et al. at Internet Measurement Conference (IMC) 2020 discusses the centralization of the Internet based on measurement of DNS traffic sent to .nl, .nz and b-root servers. Centralization affects end-users in both good (e.g., deployment of QNAME-minimization) and bad (e.g., single point of failure) ways.

  • The De-democratization of AI

    While this paper looks at who (large firms and elite universities, they say) gets papers into top AI conferences, I found Figure 2 interesting as it has a few security and networking conferences. I wonder why, in the early 2000s, the proportion of papers with at least one author from a tech firm drops off significantly at USENIX Security. For some reason, in the appendix, the authors classify INFOCOM as a visualization conference.

Icemeltland park (2020)

Imagine you are on a holiday and you see a once in a life time event. Not only because you may not be able to see it again but also because what you see may not exist after the event. Icemeltland Park (2020) is a documentary that takes us to such an “amusement park” that is distributed across the world.

What do you get to see and experience in this “amusement park”? Glacier calving. These are locations around the world where glaciers are melting or breaking away. During this 40-minute documentary, people visit these places, take videos of glacier calving and share them online. We hear expressions of joy in the background as the landslides result in massive masses of ice crashing into the ocean. People feel lucky to have been in the moment where one of these glaciers broke away. At least one of these “lucky ones” recognized the problem and exclaimed, “Scheiße”.

Internet Governance Related Activities

This year, I have had the opportunity to participate at a few Internet governance related events.

First, a couple of fellowships. I am a NextGen@ICANN69. ICANN69 was to be held in Hamburg, Germany from 17 – 22 October 2020. It will be held online instead. I am also one of the 30 Internet Society IGF Youth Ambassadors 2020.

Second, I had the opportunity to be a part of the Youth Dialogue on Internet Governance (YOUthDIG) fellowship program. The program took the form of six webinars with discussions that were eventually turned into youth messages. The program culminated with the participation in European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG) from 10 – 12 June 2020. It was held online (originally scheduled to take place in Trieste, Italy). EuroDIG is a platform for multi-stakeholder discussion on Internet-related public policy issues.