Last Change: 2018-04-13
He's the architect behind secushare.org and a promoter of technologies that try to build a kind of Internet that by design respects the Rights of the People. Carlo is critical of attempts to try to use the existing infrastructure. A complete overhaul of the Internet architecture is needed, and it is coming so late, it has to be imposed by regulation. One that is end-to-end encrypted, forward secure, scalable and distributed in a mesh architecture free of points of failure such as servers. One that protects metadata, the information of who is connected to whom. Yet, that doesn't mean that law enforcement is entirely cut out from doing its job! The right balance is feasible. Carlo has a background in network protocol design and high scalability systems. His best-known contribution to the Internet is however rather harmless: It's IRC's /me command.
Internet technologist since 1988. Founder of secushare distributed systems. Former head of symlynX multicast systems. Formerly technology lead at STERN magazine, Hamburg. Inventor of URL shortening and prototype content delivery networks. Contributor to IRC, XMPP and main author of PSYC. Participant in the Pirate movement and author of legislation proposals. Expert in liquid democracy technology and digital social structures.
lynX's Internet activism goes back to the early 90's where he enabled the IRC network to distribute uncensored Israeli live reporting during Gulf Wars in a civilized manner by the creation of the +/#report channels, its moderation bot and special changes to the leading IRC client. He also participated in a successful campaign to promote free Internet access to all students in Germany (first called "DaWIN", then Nutzergruppe Studierende). In 1996 he expressed concerns in regards to user tracking being enabled in the new HTTP/1.1 standard. He also opposed the introduction of web beacons as a measurement standard for website popularity, resulting in him being removed from that role by his employer for being too political!
When Carlo joined the Piratenpartei in 2009, there was already this vision in the air.. Pirates speaking of Liquid Democracy. The next year it got introduced and Carlo was among the first to use the technology in writing a participatory election programme. It made the Pirates different from any other political party: All had contributed, all were authors, not just sympathisers. This gave them a whole different kind of boost. Each one competent in every detail and boasting with motivation.
The outcome was 8,9 percent of the Berlin vote, 15 seats in parliament, 13% in polls for upcoming national elections. In a survey, Berliner Pirates said Liquid Democracy was the number one ingredient to their success. Since then, Carlo has been touring Italy; promoting, deploying and explaining the Liquid Feedback technology in the Italian Pirate Party, other interested groups and the media.
He represented the Pirate movement in a nation-wide television talk show on La7, Gad Lerner's "Infedele". He has contributed to the new Statutes of the Italian Pirates which provide an innovative framework for a leaderless organisation ruled by the participation of its members. He also promoted the idea of doing a Europe-wide Liquid Feedback.
For a short period he worked as a consultant at both chambers of the Italian parliament, subsequently. He has been authoring some law proposals that got introduced to the Italian Chamber of Representatives on the topics of governmental transparency and the overdue reform of collecting societies. The newest law proposal is about enforcing the Secrecy of Correspondence in all telecommunication devices.
In 1994, while Carlo wrote the web's first link shortening service called home.pages.de, Internet business took off. Carlo was recruited to develop content management systems for sites such as zeit.de. For spiegel.de he developed a custom web server that redirects visitors to the nearest mirror of the website, effectively inventing the first content delivery network, long before Akamai. From 1995 to 1997 he was the lead technologist of stern.de at Gruner+Jahr, the largest weekly magazine in Europe at the time.
Contemporaneously he published the drafts for a federated protocol called PSYC. Wearing a journalist badge, he visited mobile phone company booths all over the 1995 CeBIT fair, asking whether any of them were ready for doing Internet apps. They all said yes but they all weren't. He was a few years too early on the topic, so the article in STERN didn't come about. Instead, two years later a similar article appeared in konr@d magazine, wherein Carlo essentially described Whatsapp as the use case for PSYC on mobile phones.
At the time, a webchat based on PSYC technology became one of Germany's largest chat communities, the SternChat. The success of PSYC got him a very unusual job offer. Microsoft took him out for dinner and asked to have him join the team for the design of the Windows Messenger. Knowing that PSYC would never have become a free and open source technology once in the hands of Microsoft, he refused. Instead he spent another two years with a start-up called LAVA.
Although PSYC was intended as an open standard to improve on the design mistakes in IRC, earning money with it turned out much easier than getting the attention of the open source community, so the release was delayed and a software named Jabber appeared out of nowhere, riding the XML hype. Can you believe in 1999 everybody believed XML would be the solution to all problems? Despite warnings about the many shortcomings of XMPP, the IETF made it a standard, causing several decades of stagnation in technological development.
During that period Carlo co-founded the political platforms wahlkampf98.de and politik-digital.de, both making extensive use of his high scalability webchat technology, before founding symlynX a little company that would provide large affluence community chats for clients such as Deutsche Telekom and MTV.
It became commonplace for people of interest to be interviewed in a symlynX VIP chat. Among its guests were all kinds of celebrities in music, sports, cinema and politics: Harrison Ford, Angela Merkel, Morgan Freeman, Sting, to name a few. symlynX was incidentally awarded the prestigious Grimme Award twice in the same year for having enabled politician chats via politik-digital while also empowering MTV to do a worldwide fanbase chat with the R.E.M. rock group.
symlynX survived the new economy bubble by not selling out to venture capital and remaining a little solid German Mittelstand business instead. Some years later, however, Facebook arose and offered chat services for free. symlynX' former clients chose to reduce their expenses and let those apparently gratis cloud services monetise on the interests of the audience. While symlynX had always respected German data protection laws, Facebook had a business model based on the disrespect of such laws. There was no even playfield by which symlynX could compete with Facebook. Carlo is still waiting for legality to return to the Internet. Technology-wise, symlynX was in fact ahead. It took years for Facebook to learn how to keep its databases in sync.
In the meantime, when Carlo found out that web browsers do not actually remember certificates and are therefore unnecessarily at risk of man in the middle attacks, he talked some friends into implementing certificate pinning for Firefox in an add-on called "Certificate Patrol".
There was a time when servers were presumed to be safe and reading other people's messages was unethical, let alone collect and archive them for their whole lifetime and beyond. Around 2010, Carlo realised that the concept of federating decentralised servers wasn't going to achieve the political goal of creating privacy on the Internet, so he aimed for a better holy grail: secushare — a distributed communications tool and social network that does not trust any servers and impedes corporations and governments from collecting information about who is in a relationship with whom. secushare is an ongoing project ever since, given that it has to invent a privacy-enabled equivalent to cloud computing, which is a much bigger challenge than PSYC originally was.
Since the revelations of summer 2013, Carlo has been organizing #youbroketheinternet events, bringing people together that would like to contribute to a new Internet protocol stack. The same year, at the #wastun summit, Carlo gathered interested citizen and politicians to examine the possibility of combining new Internet technology with appropriate legislation as to lead into a Constitutional Internet. With the Cambridge Analytica events, this kind of legislation is needed more than ever before.
Carlo also makes music. He keeps it on the servers of friends. Since the 2000s, Carlo has been producing dance music and deejaying in the Berlin electro, techno and disco underground. His biggest gig was in Paris however, after the release of his second record, playing at the place that now goes by the name of "SHOWCASE". There were about a thousand people on the dancefloor. Here's a list of his physical music publications:
A recent DJ mix is available, but it is never quite the same as experiencing how the lynX feels into the mood of whatever audience to play the tunes that fit. Carlo has a monthly residency in one of Berlin's oldest techno clubs, the Kit Kat, founded in 1994. If you invite him for a paper presentation, make sure to also give him a slot for a DJ set at the after-party. ;-)