Alles hat seine Geschichte

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. 

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17 thoughts on “Alles hat seine Geschichte

  1. You’re right, Mago: he’s not dumb. I’m pretty sure that Mr Snowden will stay in Russia, just as Julian Assange is still in the embassy of Ecuador in London. There is indeed a right of forgetting, but the greed for information is endless, especially from those who possess the power. Now it’s Prism. In the past it was Carnivore and Echelon. Haven’t you ever had the annoying feeling that you were never told the plain truth, but just contaminated filtered information?I do all the time.

  2. Ja, I’m thinking Mr Snowden will be very mindful of his travels.

    My first home computer was mid-1983, IBM PC Type B (256k motherboard) with two DSDD 5.25-inch floppy disk drives and DOS 2.0. Mainly for learning about PC computers. Wrote lots of BASIC programs. For entertainment, SubLogic Flight Simulator.

  3. I wouldn’t like to sound like a commie, but knowledge is power, Young man. I’ve lived all my life in a land where politicians have traditionally lied to the people, to hide corruption. And generally speaking, I believe it’s in their blood to manipulate the public opinion in their own benefit through information control. Images are always better than words . Truth is what they’re afraid of.

  4. *gives Hipster Yaya a tranquilizer and puts her to sleep* Sorry about the rant. My granny is a very sweet woman but sometimes a bit radical.

    On another note, my first computer was a PC with 5.25 floppy disks and DOS operating system too. I was almost a kid and was always sent to training courses because my older coworkers refused to use the computer!
    We were in a network monitored by “the guys from the London Head Office”, who would fly to our premises whenever something went wrong. There was also something remotely similar to e-mail, just for the employees but it was slow and always lost the settings.

  5. The first casualty of war is truth. If anything in this world is true, it is this.
    Information is always filtered – the only difference nowadays is that the interwebs allow a lot more “channels”, that filtering is more difficult than it was in the good old days. And let’s not forget that “truth” in itself is a very dubious idea. Everyone has his own personal truth. To live by.
    No – I do not defend liars. I only want to understand the mechanisms of “truth-producing”, of lying if you want, of manipulating, and I want to have the illusion of “truth”, so that I can sleep without another bottle of Rum … In the end it’s just turning around and go to the cabin in the woods. The subject I am interested in is very personal, and belongs to everybody.

    I never had to deal with DOS 2. We started with DOS 3, and with the famous “computer pool”. Basically twelve [oh God, not IM, this Italian make – ?] in a row and linked by tons of cables. I wish I’d have still a DOS 5 handbook, 5150 LX, it’s very useful when You work in archive that deals with digital long term archiving – really!

    Communism is not the enemy anymore, Hipster Yaya, the actual sockpuppet is called “terror” or such – it seems to be open to definition. Basically better avoid to be in open spaces where drones can come by.

  6. And I bet that these lads from London found it very nice to have to fly in to Spain at any possible chance, dear Leni!

    The last thing that was really working was DOS 5 on a 486 (forgot the specification, it was standard run of the mill then) with word 5 – always focused on the word-processing etc. And of course two floppies – and “C:”. AND 512 kb. Using all the Norton utilities. [“park” was no nonsense then!] And of course stupid games. What I always wanted to find again was “gorilla.bas”: That silly ape throwing an exploding banana. In the end it is the epitome of all we did over the last hundred years. Seriously, I think we never stepped further. Even today.

  7. They did fly to Spain quite often Mago, hehehe, and after work I’d take them out to dinner and have a drink at a club. I have very happy memories of these days. When they left, they always said the same: “Never type DELETE ALL, OK? 🙂

    PS.- My brother would sit in front of his old Amstrad and play Pacman all night long.

  8. About running away from the DRONES and looking for the TRUTH, I would strongly recommend you watch the sci-fi movie “Oblivion”. *rushes out to her bedroom before Leni finds out she’s not sleeping*

  9. I will confess to using one or two full RF converters with phase-locked loops back in the late 70s. However, the continued tubicination consumption of cheap Watneys pale ale gave me a seemingly floppy disk, so I gave it a wide berth until assorted quisquilian microns and of course a Memotech MTX500MTX512RS128 gave me the extra boost I still retain to this day.

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