We come in peace. The theme for the 27c3 conference in Berlin hits the needle on the head, as the expertise and enthusiasm of the hacking community will and should play a pivotal role for the good of our society in the years to come. Here’s our report of the second and third day of 27c3.
After an inspiring first day (our report), expectations were sky high for the next. And easily met. Amongst others, we saw a live demonstration of a GSM hack enabling anyone to wiretap mobile phone calls using cheap technologies. Wired has a good article on the groundbreaking work of security researchers Karsten Nohl and Sylvain Munaut, which also was covered as a leader for the RTL Nieuws yesterday (Dutch only). The researchers provide very simple and effective solutions for the GSM insecurity that would help 4 billion mobile phone users, but until now, telecoms providers have not taken the insecurities serious enough. Count on us to hold these providers to account.
During our plenary on the state of data retention at day 1 (slides – PDF), we announced a workshop to explore the upcoming campaign and to gather input. We welcomed around fifty enthusiastic participants, who showed great creativity and determination. We want to thank all of you who attended and urge the rest of you to send an e-mail to info [ at ] bof [ dot ] nl (subject: DR volunteer) to join the expanding movement against data retention in the EU. You will be needed, especially in summer 2011 when the European Parliament will vote on ‘the most privacy invasive measure in the European Union’, as the European Data Protection Supervisor Peter Hustinx put it recently. A spontaneous demonstration organized by AK vorrat on day 3 added to the momentum. Demonstrating on the streets of Berlin, escorted by 10 police cars, indeed has a special feeling to it.
Then there was a breathtaking classical music concerto-presentation by established musicians Corey Cerovsek and Julien Quentin. Their contribution showed how often classical composers such as Beethoven had remixed earlier work. Woven through their moving performance were YouTube movies of contemporary Beethovens, that after a few seconds got blocked due to copyright restrictions. Disconcerting and effective at the same time, the audience demanded – apart from an encore of course – they give the same performance before the European Parliament. When I walked out of the conference room and visualized this, my head was nearly chopped of by the wings of a self-hacked quadcopter. You have to love this event.
We come in peace. The theme describes action, the arrival of this joyous and positive movement in the public arena. A good thing, since the expertise and enthusiasm present at 27c3 is badly needed to establish a peaceful digital world in times of turbulence.
And the ‘we’ in that theme, is you. Daniel Domscheit-Berg, one of the crucial people behind the Iceland Modern Media Initiative and the forthcoming OpenLeaks website, neatly reminded us of your personal role in the digital world: ‘everyone in this room has tremendous skills, and needs to feel responsible for using them for the good.’
Now, read his call once again, then get involved. If you want to stand up against data retention, you know what to do. If you don’t know where to start, look up your local digital rights organization within the European Digital Rights coalition and volunteer. Your internet freedoms are at stake.
Unfortunately, we had to leave and thus missed out on interesting stuff on the evening of day 3 and the entire day 4. And oh yes, we owe you just a short clip on the day in the life of the 27c3 congress: 3d printers and the Arduino hacking workshop.
See you at next years conference, hopefully before.