All that trallalah about Mr. SNOWDEN, and especially the somewhat outlandish discussion here in Germany, makes me wonder what Horst HEROLD (Ger., no English article [!]) may think about all this.
Actually some people want SNOWDEN to come to Germany and testify in front of a Untersuchungsausschuss. I personally think that this is a very bad idea, bordering to madness, and that Mr. SNOWDEN would be nuts to do this. As I understood there are some agreements between Germany and the US that would make it possible – and very likely ! – that the man would vanish and pop up in Guantanamo. The US secret services are not too squeamish when it comes to grab people, as earlier cases proofed. SNOWDEN is surely not nuts.
HEROLD was the head of the German Bundeskriminalamt (Ger., Eng.) from 1971 until 1981. He invented something called Rasterfahndung (Ger. only). It is a computer based method to find people who act in a certain way: Basically its data mining avant la lettre.*
BUT: HEROLD did not advocate seemingly unrestricted data collecting, and he was one of the first – if not the very first at all – who demanded a “right of forgetting”: At some point things must simply be erased. HEROLD is alive, gives no interviews and lives pretty retreated; he seems to be still “in touch”, maybe working on texts about the actual situation – I would very much like to learn what the old master has to say about his disciples. (About: ZEIT, Süddeutsche, both Ger. only.)
He turned ninety some days ago: Alles Gute zum Geburtstag, Herr Herold. Ad multos annos.
Ich konnte Sonneberg vom Dorf meiner Großeltern aus sehen – ha!
* Did any of my revered readers use a computer 25 or 30 years ago – and if yes, what was it, and what was it for ? Nowadays Your portable, Your camera or the thing in Your car, have actually more “power” than what we used then: And of course it collects more data than anything we had back in stone age.