Friday, 28 September 2012

Thanks to Cardiff Cryptoparty, now on to London

Hi everyone.  24 hours to go now until the London Cryptoparty, its good to hear of a couple of Cryptopartys that went really well.  First off we have Cardiff, who organised the first UK event.  Massive props to them, it sounds like they done a fantastic job.  They have a writeup of their event Here.  We hope this event continues and grows bigger.

Also the Online meeting was a big success.  We did have some problems trying to walk 40 people through setup of complex software on different platforms, on just voice chat.  This as a format may not have worked as well as we hoped, although a general discussion of the issues within the group proved way more successful, and I think everyone learned a lot and we can build on this , I hope we can build on this.

Now onto the London event.  We've had a massive response, and we're looking to cram 135 people into the space at google campus.  I'm pretty sure this is going to be the biggest one so far, and we really look forward to seeing you all there.   Sadly all the tickets are now given out, we just can't fit any more in.  If you are disapointed please follow us on twitter (@cryptopartylond) and if there are any more spaces that become available, we'll make sure information gets out there.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Cryptoparties are popular, so we started an online one

Well, where do I start. Since announcing the first London Cryptoparty last week, we quickly realised the space we had booked at the London Hackspace was way too small for our needs, so we quickly rearranged to use the google campus.

There seems to be a bit of irony that we're using the google campus as a venue for a Cryptoparty, given that google are one of the biggest data collectors in the big brother society. However, the essence of the Cryptoparty is to reveal only what you wish to reveal. In a city like London, there are cameras everywhere. Wherever we go, we will be watched and filmed and recorded. In this situation, why not take our campaign into the belly of the beast, so to speak, and show them we aren't afraid of them, and we can beat them at their own game.

There is one concern we had using the google campus. Everyone coming will have to give a name, and we greatly encourage you to not make that your real name, although please be a bit more creative than Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck. We can get away with a lot, but they aren't complete idiots. We have already had over half the maximum allocation taken for this event, so please register fast to avoid disappointment. Once the tickets do sell out, we will be running a waiting list in case of people dropping out.

Another exciting addition recently is the Online Cryptoparty. This came about over a conversation on the Occpytalk Mumble platform on the subject. It turns out there are a lot of people who don't live in the locality of a Cryptoparty, or don't have enough local support to set one up. This will take place on Wednesday 26th September, and will be mainly focused as a skills sharing workshop, and making sure everyone has the tools and knowledge to be able to stay safe online. Everyone is welcome to attend this, and hopefully this can become a regular meeting.

I'm sure a lot of the workshops for both live and online Cryptopartys will seem very basic to people who have experience with cryptography and safety techniques before, but this has to be the case, and I urge everyone with any experience to be on hand to help people out. Certainly the online party will focus on the most basic systems at first, but we aim for this to become a regular event, with more advanced techniques being discussed at later events, when everyone has mastered the basics.

Monday, 10 September 2012

First London Cryptoparty Confirmed

29th Septermber, London Hackspace 7:30pm
Hi everyone, welcome to the first blogpost from the London cryptoparty. We've seen a growing international movement recently to meet with people interested in protecting their data and to exchange keys and information on how to make encryption more accessible to the general population
We live in a world where our communications and our lives are increasingly monitored by not just the government, but private corporations and even local councils are generating databases on our personal communications. We need encryption more and more in our daily lives to keep ourselves protected from prying eyes.

As a response to this and other similar actions around the globe, a bunch of London hackers have banded together to help share their knowledge with the rest of society how to use the tools available to them, to help protect their personal data from prying eyes.

Encryption is a tool, and like any tool if we use it incorrectly, it won't work. This is becoming an increasing problem with new people attempting to protect their data and falling into the same traps. Badly used encryption is far more dangerous that none at all, as we see people falling into a false sense of security, thinking they are protected, when actually the truth is they are exposing all the data they want protected.

Some people may say that if we have nothing to hide, we have nothing to fear, but this is a notion that has been discredited time and again. In an information age, corporations and governments value our data and its crazy that the rest of the population value it so little. Your data is freedom to corporations and governments that want to make changes they want through manipulation. What happens when government bans your favourite hobby? With your profile, they will know exactly where to find you. What happens when you want to sue a large corporation? With your data they can find many things to try to discredit you in court. There are many more examples where we need to value our lives and keep them from organisations that want to spy on us.

For this end we will be running a workshop and tutorial for those that wish to learn basic online safety techniques and swap keys at the London Hackspace on Saturday 29th September at 7:30pm. We hope you can join us there, for updates follow this blog, or follow @crysison @samthetechie and @cryptopartylond on twitter