I’ve been welcomed with open arms at C-base, Berlin’s infamous world-first hackerspace. But what else would you expect from a host that has the slogan “We are excellent to each other” for their CryptoParty events?
The first flyer I pick up at the wall display inside the (literal) air lock entrance, proclaims on the back:
“You seal your letters
but send your email unencrypted?
You have nothing to hide
but still don’t pass on your
You have something to hide
but are not a terrorist?
You want to protect your privacy
but don’t know how to do it?
is a basic human right”
I couldn’t agree with them more. Tautoko that kaupapa!
My second CryptoParty in recent times (I started off with the women’s-only group at Thoughtwerks last week), I’m finding the experience is nullifying my earliest concerns about the concept and validating the importance of collaborative spaces that manage to overcome social incumberances and successfully function in a productive way.
Having seen the opposite in other highly damaged activism circles, such as what was left of the Occupy General Assemblies post-evictions or the end result of boiling-below-the-surface subversive union-busting tactics, I was somewhat jaded.
These circles are so prone to infiltration and sabotage, but the massive heritage behind C-Base seems to not only hold it together but allow it to flourish.
“When was C-Base established” I asked my host. “3000 years into the future” he replied with a grin. “But we went 4 billion years into the past. And are now back at the present time. So we only have 3000 years to fix everything.”
And fix it they can, by the looks of it. The basement is a rainbow of flourescent lighting and every technological bit and bob known to mankind, all displayed artfully and accessibly in a rabbit warren of spaces.
Down the rabbit hole I go!
There’s a library (where nostalgic technology and fantasy books go to die); sound studio, walls of backlit switches and cypherscript lettering that looks like a cross between legit Japanese Katakana characters and some kind of techy sandscrit.
A workshop that redefines the tradition of the Kiwi male fantasy in terms of size, stuff and dust. A few mummified aliens are the icing on the cake of the catacombs.
I think I’m home.
Why doesn’t Auckland have a space like this? I wonder to myself. Other than whispers I’m not sure there is any functioning CryptoParty movement in NZ and this is something that definitely needs to change.
People learning together, people helping each other, people working together. And each one is an incredibly smart, accomplished, fascinating person to know.
Being a little fish in a big pond is fun as hell. There’s a lot Kiwi activists can contribute to the world and a lot that I’d like to see us take back home with us.
It really is time to wake up and get serious about protecting your own privacy, people!
Cool things learned this week: got an Android? Use alternative app stores. Use F-Droid Open Source App Store for Android specifically. So many free goodies with less nasties!
Also, if you haven’t seen it, a while back I wrote a pastebin called “How I’m Teaching My Non-Tech-Savvy Mother, Lawyers and Myself To ENCRYPT EVERYTHING” with links to basic privacy programs that everyone should know about if not already have. 1,750 people have read it so far.
Also, here’s the quintessential April 15th Julian Assange appearance at the Commonwealth Law Society Conference #CLC2015.
Kia ora from Berlin!