Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Next Stop Re:Publica – Into The Wild – Berlin

Part Two

Social Media baby, it's what makes the world go round! No, it really does! I swear, I was at a conference and it was clear to me! Come on, give me a break! It's important! So yeah, I went to one of those social media things and you know what, it was actually interesting. Granted privacy was on the agenda (you'd be surprised if it wasn't). I'm glad that Snowden hasn't trademarked his name yet, otherwise that man would be uber-rich to say the very least. My conference started for me with Sarah Harrison and Alexa O'Brian doing some 'interview' sort of thing. ZOMG!!! Snowden, you know!!! The US, OMG WTF!!! I'm sorry, I found myself getting more vexed by this talk/interview than I had imagined, which trust me, is an achievement. Whoever told Sarah Harrison they're doing 'scientific journalism' at Wikileaks should maybe cover the scientific part as well as the journalism part. Causality and Reaction is not absolute fact, and because a government couldn't prove 'X' in a court of law doesn't make 'Y' a fact. If I followed their logic I could equally argue that snowploughs are responsible for snow, owing to the fact that cities with lots of snow have more snowploughs. Which is true, but correlation 'facts' don't mean anything other than correlation between items. Also if you're going to interview someone, you ask the questions and then wait for the answers. Still feel safe in the knowledge that these people have your thoughts at heart! Oh, I was going to go off on the whole 'redaction' thing, but seriously, I'm using LibreOffice and I'm not sure that Free Software can handle my RAGE!

This was followed by Jacob Jake Applebaum and his AIDs and Privacy talk; few could pull of something like this, and praise where it is due, Jacob Jake did a very good job. It comes from the time at 30C3 were he said something along the lines of; 'if you don't use encryption you're barebacking with the internet'. The crux of the talk is basically we could learn a lot from harm reduction strategies and then he linked that to privacy issues. Granted a condom is probably easier to use than PGP, but a point well raised. I've said for a good while, 'we don't do risk eradication, just risk reduction'.  The Hoff and Mikko! NO. JUST NO. NO, I mean NO!!!! Sorry, this was as craptastic as it sounds. You know if you can't find a decent train crash to watch then look for this talk. On stage was one person very comfortable with addressing large audiences, the other was David Hasslehoff.  I have no idea what prep Mikko gave The Hoff, but it wasn't enough, trust me! Also, when most of the audience leaves half way through, this is the cue for you to start singing 'Looking for Freedom'.

Why, Oh Why, did I go to a 'security' talk at non-security conference? I'll tell you; understanding how people talk about security not in a security arena is a good thing. Be prepared, however, for me to question some premises if you do this, such as; 'Open Source software is MORE secure'! The many eyes, shallow bugs line! I love that one, it's beautiful in it's honesty. Yes, more people looking at code will probably make it less buggy, this doesn't mean jack when it comes to security though.  You know OpenSSL (_*starts singing heartbeat*_), you know, many eyes yeah! Also, OpenSSH, bloody thing has a SDL, each line of code is verified, and its got 'Secure' in the title. Well, it still gets exploitable bugs in it from time to time. Also, be very prepared for me to ask you; 'many eyes yeah? You run Linux I guess, ever read the 10 million lines plus of code?”. What I particularly loved about this was then being told that I had made the common mistake of thinking that 'Open Source Software was MORE secure'. Which was strange given it felt like I had asked why they said that, in fact I was pretty sure that's exactly their opening gambit in the first 5 minutes of the talk.  This was also followed by; 'well I prefer having access to the code', so to this Vodka is more secure than Gin because I like it, and I have access to it. However, the overall message was a good one IMHO. Keep your important data on systems you control. This is a message that is very much needed at social media related conferences.

Lets not talk about QR codes, lets just say the message hasn't got out about QR codes. Scan all teh thingz at conference. NO, for the love of god, NO!

Lots of other pretty cool stuff happened too. The crypto currencies talk, was well, errr about BitCoins. Enough said. The Craftvisim talk was thought inspiring, and I enjoyed it very much. All in all pretty cool tbh with you. Now, let's wrap the whole thing of with a great big singsong of “Bohemian Rhapsody” and we have the makings of a pretty cool conference! Superiorly, it was cool.

Part Three To Follow