Europe, My Love

Dear Europe,

It hasn’t always been easy for you in recent times. I know that you’re trying hard, but there’s only so much you can do. Even the most ambitious political institutions have their limits.

I often wonder what life would be like, if you weren’t around. Norway and Switzerland seem to be doing fine, even without a close relationship between you. The Union affords great freedom, but wouldn’t we have this without you, too?


‘German? I’m European!’

Even before the current movement, I’ve often asked myself what my country of origin, Germany, has learned from the Third Reich. Has the past given us some level of immunity for the future? I’ve got my doubts, but also think there’s hope.


Do-Not-Track is dead. Long live Do-Not-Track!

Tracking, the collection of data about user behaviour, is widespread on the web. For this reason, the idea of a “Do-Not-Track” (DNT) setting emerged a little more than a decade ago, in 2009.

This system gives users a simple choice to reject and accept online tracking. Unfortunately, DNT failed, and tracking continues.

I explore the reasons for this failure, but also how DNT has managed to change user privacy for the better, on the blog of the HCC group at the University of Oxford.


Perceptions of YouTube’s political influence

YouTube plays an increasingly important role as a political medium. Yet, the implications are to-date not well understood and difficult to analyse, since access to YouTube’s statistics is limited.

To address this gap, my friend Yury Kolotaev and I surveyed 124 people about their views and experiences around YouTube’s political influence.

Our results reveal diverse, sometimes conflicting views on YouTube’s growing political role, and highlight the need for more research, discussion and possibly regulation.

Read our full account on Medium.


Birthdays in quarantine

Today, it’s my birthday and I’m spending it by myself, self-isolating. And that’s alright. In fact, I love it.

The whole world out there seems to be going crazy these days. But, time will come. Things will work out again.

It’s interesting to take the crisis as an opportunity. It shows us how fragile and endless life is. What does really matter?

Living abroad, I don’t usually spent much time with my friends and friend from home. So, I wanted to make my birthday a special occasion and have a proper get together for my birthday, my first birthday party in 4 years.

I didn’t have a party, but it’s been special notwithstanding.

My family reached out to me on FaceTime, and so did many of my friends.

Whilst spatially apart, I’ve never felt this emotionally to my loved ones.

We’re finally taking time for another again, rather than always chasing something, prestige, success, whatever..

But, in times of crisis, this all doesn’t seem to matter anymore. What matters is the foundation of our existence.

I am full of hope that the crisis will end up changing society for the better.

This hope is likewise fear. Once the wind has settled, many things will quickly return to normality.

Let’s stay foolish.