23C3 Notes (i)

First: It was a great event. The CCC managed to turn this nice but limited scope event into a real international congress (lectures exist as announced! starting on time! Even no indoor smoking) without messing up its atmosphere. The family just grew bigger.

(For comparison a story from a couple of years ago: A first time visting friend asked me when waiting for the start of a lecture whether lectures start at the full hours or quarter past. I was a little irritated, saying ‚uh, er, this is not the kind of event where such things are defined on such a fine grained level.‘ Well, now they are, and it certainely does not hurt.)

Some lecture notes Day 1:

  • I took part in project Sputnik, wearing one of their nice active RFID devices allowing to track all my positions for the four day event like 999 others did. Even with this mass of data not being associated with names, one could do pretty scary things:
    • If the surveillance was good enough, it should be possible to identify individual speakers because they had been the only onces on stage during their lecture.
    • You should be able to identify which beacons went to the women’s bathroom which unfortunately only sums up to a small fraction of the total visitors.

    The bunch of data shall be published in the next day, so you can come up with your own ideas of (mis-)use. The project was kind of alpha – hardware was ready in time, so software work in progress – so one might also want to play with the raw data and the position calculating algorithms.

  • I really like the concept of the lightning talks. A lot of times, 5 minutes are enough to spread the message, at least for ‚this is what we do and here is the URL for getting more information and you may talk with me later about this stuff‘. Plus, it does not hurt so much if a talk is bad or boaring because it is over in only five minutes. And the moderators turned this into a really amusing event.
  • One of the highlights: Rop Gonggrijp told the story of their successful campaign against voting computers in Netherlands: We don’t trust voting computers. There would be too much to write about this, just read their page with the great dutch URL, there is information in English and German available.
  • I am always a bit sceptical about  women and technology talks because these people are sometimes the worst in coming up with stereotypes. But I was interested to hear this women who writes for Wired and her way to adress the topic was adequate and entertaining. All her points are vaild, but still I am a little afraid some people might remember only the trouble factor of being the lonely female in technology, so I must add something positive here: I have never been asked the ‚girl-friend-question‘ at CCC.
  • The audio feature was good as in the last years, plus they showed one really amusing foto of Konrad Zuse handing over a self-made portait to Bill Gates. Even those who did not understand German liked the event for having seen this picture!
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