Selfnet Blog

May 03, 2018

Connected Anna-Herrigel-Haus to the dormitory network

Last Friday (2018-04-27) we connected the Anna-Herrigel-Haus to the dormitory network.

As with all newly connected dormitories we:

  • Checked the RJ45 LAN network outlets in all rooms using a measurement device.
  • Mounted the access switch into the rack which distributes the network connection from our fibre network.
  • Connected the optical fibers using optical transceivers. Most of the transceivers (SFP+) we buy are sold by Flexoptix. In this case we used 10G SFP+ BIDI LR LC, 10km, 1330 nm, singlemode transceivers.
  • Connected all patchpanel copper RJ45 LAN connectors (which on the other end lead to the network outlet in a room) to the switch.
  • Made sure everything works.

Switchroom with laptop connected via serial console to access switch to configure fiberoptic uplink. // Switchraum mit Laptop das über eine serielle Konsole mit dem Switch verbunden ist um den Glasfaser-Uplink einzurichten. Starting to patch the the copper RJ45 patchcables neatly between patchpanel and switch. // Während des Patchens der RJ45 Kupferkabel zwischen Patchpanel und Switch. Photo from outside of building. // Foto des Hauses vom Garten aus. Close up of operational switch showing neatly connected cables. // Nahansicht der Verkabelung. Completely patched and operational Switch fully patched with all cables. // Komplett angeschlossener Switch. plaque in the entrance area (translation from German): Until 1943 this was the "Jakobiheim", named after Margarethe Jakobi 1910 given to the female teachers of Canstatt, destroyed by bombs in 1943, the house could be rebuilt thanks to Anna Herrigel in 1953/54. // Gedenktafel im Eingangsbereich: Bis 1943 stand hier das "Jakobiheim", von Margarethe Jakobi 1910 den Cannstatter Lehrerinnen gestiftet, 1943 durch Fliegerbomben zerstört, konnte das Haus 1953/54 dank der tatkräftigen Bemühungen von Anna Herrigel wieder aufgebaut werden. Speedtest in progress showing a Download speed of 983.88 Mbit/s. // Speedtest im Gange der im Download 983,88 Mbit/s anzeigt.

Mar 19, 2018

Einladung zur Mitgliederversammlung 2018 / Invitation to our general meeting of 2018

(English translation below.)

Liebes Mitglied,

anbei erhältst Du die Einladung zur ordentlichen Mitgliederversammlung 2018. Wir hoffen auf zahlreiches Erscheinen.

Die Mitgliederversammlung wird sich dieses Jahr auch mit Satzungsänderungen befassen. Die vorgeschlagenen Änderungen kann man im Anhang des Einladungsschreibens (PDF) einsehen.

Termin: Mittwoch, den 18. April 2018 um 19:00 Uhr
Ort: Ökumenisches Zentrum, Allmandring 6, 70569 Stuttgart

PDF Einladungsschreiben

Mit freundlichen Grüßen,
Selfnet e.V.
Der Vorstand

English version

Dear Member,

please find attached the invitation to our general meeting of 2018. Please note that this meeting will be in German language only. However, the topics that will be discussed include:

  1. reception and establishing decision capability
  2. report about what the club did in the year 2017/2018
    1. report by the elected board of directors
    2. treasurer's report
    3. report of data protection commissioner
  3. report of the financial auditors
  4. exoneration of the elected board of directors
  5. proposals for changing the clubs statutes
  6. election of new board of directors
  7. prospect for the next year 2018/2019
  8. information about connecting new dormitories
  9. resolution regarding the future orientation of Selfnet e.V.
  10. checking the presence of all keys
  11. miscellaneous

Please note that this general meeting will include proposals for changing the clubs statutes. See attached document for the proposals.

Date: Wednesday, 18th of April 2018 at 7:00 PM
Location: Ökumenisches Zentrum, Allmandring 6, 70569 Stuttgart

PDF invitation

Selfnet e.V.
Board of Directors

Feb 15, 2018

Data protection and privacy at Selfnet e.V.

Some of you might wonder how we collect and handle the personally identifiable information we have about our members. In this blog post we will try to give you a bit of insight into that topic.

If one stores information it can and will be lost/leaked at some point!

First of all: We only store information we really need. While it is debatable in some cases what is needed and what is not we try to collect as little information as we need.

All over the world with lots of organisations / companies / governments losing your personal information, criminals use your information to do their "business" either by stealing from you or someone else in which case you will be blamed.

If someone tells you that their system is completely safe from viruses (malicious software), attackers, etc. they are simply lying. Nothing in this world is 100% safe. This is a simple universal fact.

While we try to keep your information as safe as possible we will not lie to you just to give you a good feeling.

There are things everyone can do to improve security apart from only trying to store information in a secure/encrypted way.

More so for an organisation: If you do not think upfront about what personal information is really necessary for your operation you are probably doing something wrong.

Define how long you need the information and how you delete / destroy it!

After defining what data you store about other people you should always define how long you need to store the information.

While we also keep records on paper, all information actively used is in an electronic database system (RDBMS / PostgreSQL).

We delete the information in our database if the following three things apply:

  1. The person in question has terminated his/her membership more than 6 months ago.
  2. The cash audit for this member has been done.
  3. There are no outstanding membership fees.

The cash audit is done once a year before our yearly meeting of members. The meeting of members is held once a year in April and it is the main body of the association (Verein) where every member is invited (via email) and welcome to participate in the meeting (even non-volunteering members). During the meeting of members the cash auditors (minimum 2 people) attest that the treasurer did nothing wrong.

To do that they manually check every single transaction on our bank account. For things we buy (e.g. hardware) there has to be an invoice and for every monthly membership fee there has to be a record in our database.

Because Selfnet e.V. is a "Verein" some data retention is required by law meaning that the paperwork you signed has to be stored for several years. After that time has passed we destroy it.

So once we (regularly) delete the data in our database we create a list of all deleted membership numbers (VNR), print it and get the paperwork for the listed members.

This paperwork along with the list is kept for some years (due to the aforementioned regulations) in a box which we store in a locked room.

Once enough years have passed we have a "shredder party" and feed all the paperwork to Mr. OmNomNom and his brother which is also a document shredder.

Of course backups of the database also have to be pruned regularly. :-)

Photo of last shredder party:

Source of imagePhoto of the last shredder party.

Video of last shredder party:

Source of video

Setting up rules for everyone who works with the data.

The first thing you should do is think about what you tell everyone who might be in contact with the information you are collecting before he or she comes into contact with the information.

While the law in some countries favours data protection at least in Germany the punishment for doing something stupid with other peoples personal information is - for the most part - pretty tame.

Therefore it does make sense to - in addition to the things required by law - setup rules for everyone in your organisation.

In case of Selfnet every volunteer and basically everyone who wants to enter the office where you could potentially see information about other members has to completely read, understand and sign the data protection guidelines (Datenschutzrichtlinie) before they can advance to the non-public rooms.

While it does not improve the law it should make it more clear that all personal information is sensitive and has to be protected.

Giving everyone only access to what they really need.

A good example for this is the SEPA mandate. A SEPA mandate usually consists of the IBAN and BIC of your bank account along with the mandate ID for which you signed the form (we have to produce the paperwork if the banks ask for it).

Because only our treasurer needs to see the full IBAN (International Bank Account Number) (to create the transaction file for the direct debit of the membership fees) the volunteers doing support for other members only see the last 4 digits of the IBAN. This way if you have forgotten which of your bank account numbers you gave us they can tell you the last 4 digits which should be enough for you to verify which bank account it is. But the full IBAN (which could be used on online shopping websites) is not shown.

Also not all volunteers do support work, for example they concentrate on technical things and therefore those volunteers do not have access to any membership information at all.

If you have made it this far we also recommend you to have a look at the terms of use for the dormitory network (also known as "Network rules" or "Benutzerrichtlinien"). They are signed by everyone who wants to use the dormitory network.

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