Monthly Archives: June 2015

Q1/15 Reading List

NoViolet Bulawayo: We Need New Names. A bit uneven but worth it.
Felix Lowe: Climbs and Punishment. Kinda funny. 
Maja Haderlap: Engel des Vergessens. Eindrucksvoll.
Olga Grjasnowa: Der Russe ist einer, der Birken liebt. Sehr stark.
Andreas Maier: Das Haus. Schon überzeugend. Aber elf Bände?
Edward St Aubyn: Lost for Words. Good not great. 
Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares: Traction. Good stuff. 
Ben Lerner: Leaving the Atocha Station. Impressive Bildungsroman.
Alan Rusbridger: Play It Again. What a wonderful surprise. 
Ben Lerner: 10:04. Again, impressive.
McHutchinson & Blundell: Mid-life Cyclists. A pleasant surprise. 
Thomas Hettche: Woraus wir gemacht sind. Au weh. Wo ist der Lektor?
Gerhard Polt: und auch sonst. Nicht wirklich inspiriert.
Patrick Modiano: Abendgesellschaft. Faszinierend.
George Saunders: tenth of december. Strong stuff. 
Robert Seethaler: Der Trafikant. Sehr stark.
Colum McCann: Dancer. Outstanding. 
Roger Ebert: Life Itself. Mixed bag, bit long.
Alexandra Fuller: Don’t Let’s Go To The Dogs. Very strong.
Robert Seethaler: Die weiteren Aussichten. Nicht ganz so stark.
John Hooper: The Italians. Good not great.
Ron Rash: Serena. Strong stuff.
Arno Geiger: Selbstporträt mit Flusspferd. Eher schwach. 

Facebook and PGP. A Pleasant Surprise.

This  is a welcome surprise. 
Facebook announced the ability for users to upload their public key so that they can receive their messages from Facebook in encrypted form. 
Bildschirmfoto 2015 06 01 um 16 36 04
This is remarkable in several ways:
1. It clearly demonstrates that PGP is the right way to go about encrypting email. Email is so prevalent precisely because it is the one message format where I don’t have to worry about what client or server you use. As long as I have your address I can communicate with you. The same goes for encryption. I want to be able to send encrypted messages to you without having to worry about which client or crypto tools you use. 
2. Notfications from FB are now encrypted. That may or may not be important in real life. Many people would argue that sensitive information doesn’t belong on FB in the first place. But we can hopefully agree that putting more encrypted content onto the wire is a good thing in itself, more security, less surveillance.
3. More importantly, password reset emails are now encrypted. This is huge. A hacker who hijacks your email account ny cracking your password is easily able to reset all your passwords and destroy your online identity. With encrypted password reset messages that isn’t possible anymore. Well done!
4. The most important implication to the more widespread adoption of encryption is the potential to use FB as a database for acquiring people’s public keys. If I know your FB name I can look for it at
So secure email products such as Whiteout Mail could add FB as another keyserver to query when acquiring keys (more on that here).