By Quinn Norton at 7:28 am Sun, Dec 30, 2012
Dawn is breaking over last day of the annual Chaos Communication Congress in Hamburg, Germany. CCC is the meeting of the Chaos Computer Club (also CCC), a group of German hackers hanging out together since 1981. Congress (as it is also known) is one of the great gatherings of tribes in the hacker world -- which, in the time it has existed, has gone from being a tiny, sometimes gothy and mathematically inclined subculture to being a big, elitist community whose work, values, and aesthetics touch the lives of billions of people. CCC has grown and flowered with the community.
The mad and beautiful landscape of the conference this year covers four floors of a Hamburg conference center like and electrical/human forest undergrowth. The topics range as wildly as technology itself. Sessions include the mathematics of factoring (cracking) RSA encryption, the state of the surveillance state in Russia, SCADA vulnerabilities, often in critical infrastructure, Romantic poets, and massively hacking tamagotchis. The halls and "assembly" areas for affinity groups all full of the interests of hacker culture: coding tables, hackerspaces, lockpicking, blinky lights, food hacking, etc. The undercurrents and background noise of the conference saturate in the hallway track. Legal crackdowns and the rising surveillance states crowd on in on us from outside, old fights over misogyny, sex and violence, and exclusion riddle the event from within. And through it, also the revitalization of friendships that are, in some cases, four days wide but decades deep. The starts and ends of countless projects, some of which will amuse us all, some fail, and others that will in time shape the world.
The hacker community that comes together at CCC is an extraordinary thing, physical and ethereal, a communion of wizards and fools, often trading roles through the day.
This year's theme is Not My Department, ominously lifted from Tom Lehrer's song about Wernher von Braun and the nuclear age. It's a self-conscious choice, a sign of growing awareness that this community is poised to sit in a position of strange power in the 21st century -- without yet knowing what kind of ethics should accompany that position. A nest of geeks whose real-world influence has grown out of all proportion in the last 30 years, these hackers, coders, and makers are struggling with the weird machine they have created in the heart of the world.
ONCE-THE.ROCKETS/ARE-UP..WHO>CARES-WHERE.THEY/COME-DOWN. THAT'S N.O-T/MY-D/E.PA/R.T-ME-N-T. 2.9-C/3
Published 7:28 am Sun, Dec 30, 2012
About the AuthorQuinn Norton is a writer and photographer who covers science, technology and law- copyright, robotics, computer security, intellectual property, body modification, medicine, and other topics that catch her attention. Follow on Twitter.
More at Boing Boing
True Detective ends its first season as it began: with two indelible performances [Recap: season 1, episode 8]
Kevin McFarland reviews the finale of HBO's crime drama "True Detective," starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. If you're new to the show, start with our introduction here. This post contains spoilers.
Hannibal’s premiere hit the ground running, but it felt like half of an episode. We barely even met the “artist” behind the giant corpse-eye mural, because there was so much fallout from Will’s incarceration.