Inspiration from Berlin

5 years of being involved with the Chaos Communication Congress here in Berlin, and one thing that never changes, yet always surprises me, is the tremendous boost this entire event gives me.  The inspiration to move forward in an exciting way, the ideas to try something new, the encouragement that I am on the right track; this magical hacker community has very much become like a family.

It is a family that only gets together once or twice per year, but it is a family that makes sure that meeting is an unforgettable one. A mix of faces and names that I don’t always know, yet it never takes long for me to understand and learn from them. They thank me for bringing them some bit of wisdom or information, yet it is I that am thanking them in my own mind throughout this experience.

The city of Berlin is very special to me, for in the time I have come to know what my mission is in this life, this city was the backdrop for some of the most pivotal moments.  This city, my friends who live in it, and the friends who arrive around this time each year, perhaps without even ever having intended it, have helped shape my unconventional approach to work, travel, and beyond.

For that, as I’ve said so many times before, I salute all my good friends from this congress and from past congresses. I also look forward to many more with you!

The Wall of Light

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Watch Me Live @27c3

Photo by zhenech on flickr

Greetings from a very snow covered Berlin, Germany.  Tomorrow, Tuesday the 28th of December, I’ll be giving a talk here at the world’s most infamous hacker congress, the 27C3. It is my fifth talk in five years and I’m excited to have had a run this long. I’m especially pleased to be talking about a topic that is so often on my mind, my experience working in Afghanistan. Specifically my talk is entitled: Adventures in Mapping Afghanistan Elections, The story of 3 Ushahidi mapping and reporting projects.

The talk will take place in Hall 2 and of course I expect most of you reading this are not here in Berlin.. therefore click on this link to find live streams of the talk. It starts at 21h45 CET, thats 3:45PM EST, 12:45PM PST, 00h15 in Kabul. (not that streaming is much of an option there)

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bm259 Fingerprinting the German Government

The German minister who famously believes in law and order and high security and knowing as much about citizens as possible, has now – himself- been fingerprinted. Whats more, the fingerprints are being distributed all over the world as part of a very strong statement and critique of what is supposed to be such a safe and secure method of identification.

This podcast is recorded at the CCCB in Berlin, and it features the participation of some very kind and socially conscious hackers. As we sat around assembling the magazines, finger prints and all, I took out the recorder and asked them to explain how it is they got hold of the German interior minister’s finger prints and what the larger meaning of this action, will be.

By the end of the recording they realized we hadn’t spoken in detail about many of the OTHER examples of what the German government is trying to do when it comes to data retention and privacy. Below is a list of links they recommended I include for better details about what is going on.

EU-Wide implementation of the data retention

German minister defends ‘Trojan horse’ spy tactic as needed to fight terror

Schäuble: Facts Obtained Through Torture Should be Used

Oh and as a bonus, the Finger Print story in Wired.

 

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bmtv82 Stasi Museum with BaghdadBrian

During my recent visit to Berlin, BaghdadBrian and I visited the stasimuseum and recording this videoblog entry. It also features the most excellent tour guide who not only gave tremendous insight into what life was like in the GDR and the activities of the Stasi, but also gave these great personal stories of how she felt and what she remembers. Oh and here’s the museum website.

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