I attended the 30c3 conference in Hamburg, it is the yearly gathering of the German and worldwide hacker movement where the ethics, consequences, and future of hacking is discussed. It has been growing considerably over the years, and now manages to completely fill the biggest rooms of the huge CCH congress center. According to the somewhat dubious official numbers, the visitor number was over 9000.
Aside from building awesome pneumatc mail systems and 3d-cam-controlled mechanical pixel grids, the focus of this year was the implications of the revelations about the reach of the NSA's breach of privacy and information asymmetry warfare in general. For those of you who didn't attend (and my future self) here's my list of the best talks.
@ioerror takes the stage to present the latest findings from the NSA toolbox. Q would be envious.
On what it means to be a journalist and the importance of building easy to use crypto tools.
Tor - one of the important parts of the security toolbox that is being built to counter the information asymmetry attacks.
Best hacking talks
So you thought you could trust your SD cards? Think again.
How to empty ATM's with a USB stick and secret numbers. Of course using strong cryptography to make sure your couriers keep their end of the bargain.
On the Orwellian system of RFID-enabled internal passports already implemented in China. After this, the "slippery slope"-argument of electronic surveillance doesn't seem as much of a fallacy.
Best philosophy/policy talks
On the implications of software and technology on society and the role of hackers. Interestingly, one of the speakers, Eleanor Saitta, is deeply involved in the philosophy of Nordic larp.
Jochka delivers an insightful talk about how to go about building AI. Refreshingly pragmatic, humble and devoid of speculation and postmodern BS. I particularly like the debunking of Searle's cat-mice-and-cheese computer though experiment by calculating its expected size to about 3000 km³ (size of Hamburg).
There are loads of more good stuff at the CCC media archive.
Now let's all get back to fixing the internet, hope to see you next year!