28 Dec 2009

26C3 Day 1

Submitted by blizzz

First day of 26th Chaos Communicaton Congress. Thomas and I got our tickets yesterday evening, fortunately, as the event is apparently sold out. I have forgotten a network cable (need to rely on WLan) and my headphones (need to rely on seat in the rooms). Well, from time to time internet access breaks down, however.


I was too late for the keynote, so if i do not want to stand the whole time (which i did not), i needed to get a seat on a table in the upper story. Headphones would not seem to help as the video stream does not seem to work reliably (afterwards it was quite stable as i heard), so i checked mails, the 26c3 wiki and stuff.

Censhorship World Tour

Surveillance Icon of UAE

The first lecture i attented today. Jens Kubieziel gave a nice overview about internet censorship in different countries in Europe, Africa and Asia. You got to see a broad variety of measures of which all are isolating both people and information. Though, you also realize some stupidity on the side of the censors in terms of choice and implementation of their tools, but also in selection of the sites to be banned. Remarkable, that all websites with Israeli top-level domain are blocked in UAE – until you request them without "www". On the other side it is dramatically, that China wants to switch to a whitelist, i.e. making only a list of websites available. Besides that, a lot of other oddity has been reported as well.

Rhetoric in a Leyen way

Martin Haase gave insight into the rhetoric of von der Leyen, a German politician, whose intention is (or was in her last function as secretary in Ministry for Family Affairs) to intensify censorship in Germany (of cause all for the sake of her career the children). The talk itself was good as I am used to from last year; it was interesting to see him dissecting von der Leyen's talk structure in the rhetoric point of view. This was fun, if you're interested in such things.

Haase closed with the call to not only hack things and applications, but also text and language.

Depths of the Webverse

Unfortunately i was too late to find a seat, so I have had a place on the floor, both view and comfort were of minor goodness. Nevertheless aestetix, equinox, Eric Michaud and mc.fly described requirements and challenges in building a real social network including full privacy and gave also a solution with ChaosVPN which is built open or using tinc.

I think this is a most interesting topic as i expect more (community-based) networks rise and grow in future, especially against the background of more and more supervising governments while trust in them lowers and lowers accordingly.

Future of Machines, Humans and Labour

A rather philosophical talk was given by Lorenz who presented his thoughts of the future of machines and their effect to humans. In short, he forecast that old machines (physical work with need of a human operator) and new machines (information work) will be combined to autonomous and intelligent machines. As of consequence of their commoditization those machines will take care of most physical work. What is left is mental work for humans and a lot of free time, which naturally leads to changes in society as we are heavily focused on work momentarily. His conclusion is that people will not stop working of course, but do it for satisfaction in first line and not for a living.

What i really liked in his talk were his examples and comparisons of past and present, and that he draw those results into his considerations about the future. On the other side, he touched sub-topics which i think he was not so good prepared at or generally did not dig into it. As an example his explanations in intelligence lacked the definition of intelligence itself. Saying that animals are stupid (fish, hamsters, monkeys...) and machines need not are really near-sighted. Some basics you get in every Artifical Intelligence lesson could have been corporated.

Additionally, his conclusions for peoples future life have not been strongly founded in my opinion. To work on things for own pleasure is something I would really like to see and experience (fortunately, i like my job), but i think it is some kind of utopia or a desireable ideal status, which i do not believe coming true. Further, he probably explained only a small piece of the whole picture, as he did not mention the role of the states and governments in his forecast. As they seem to rely on balanced social problems it is for sure that many people will face issues, too, depending on how the society will be built then. Well, all in all this topic is rather large and does not fit in so little time, but at least it makes the brain rolling.

Zugangserschwerungsgesetz - Law Magic

This was a rather informative talk about that not yet passed law with the wonderful name "Zugangserschwerungsgesetz". Matthias Bäcker told in which ways this law may be invalid, which arguments there are, what his opinion is, and who can take what action if this law should be passed eventually. As said, informative, but not rocket science.

Political Art by Faulhaber

A really interesting presentation was held by Christian Faulhaber. Main topic was his project "Mister Security" in which he took some photos on public places, but in front of foreign consultance facilities, wearing a second hand security uniform. Of course, some policemen were not so amused, which caused some trouble. Afterwards he presented those photos and results officially in a van in front of those buildings. It the end, he was registered on an US terrorist list. He could work out to visit USA for a scholarship though, however he was thrown out by the art house as well as his flat, just because some FBI agents visited his work place for some questions.

He reported this and some other projects, it is very interesting and recommandable to take a look in them!

One exception: i could have lived without the chicken slaughter.

Chaining little bugs for a large attack

With his slides Fabian Yamaguchi has shown how to use small bugs in different applications like Pidgin, Squid and e1000 driver to cause an attack to clients and all sorts of network components in a common business network. Though some details go behind my talents, he explained it quite well and with good images. Other sources will give you better insight into this than i could.

My Conclusion

The first day started really well with lectures in very different tracks, from hacking to society. Now, 3.30am and making up this post i am a bit exhausted but fully satisfied and looking for tomorrow (which is today).

Read also: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4


Regarding "Censhorship World Tour"
Before realizing the stupidity in the implementations of the censors, have urealized YOUR stupidity for ignoring the reasons why they are doing this, OR is this a one sided view where we can only see 'your' techie side of the story and discard the others?

Yeah, on sentence later i pick up an example of UAE with their dealing with il-Domains. I know, in many cases there are probably reasons behind, but in others there don't.

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