19c3

As every year, I will be going to the Chaos Communication Congress, held by the Chaos Computer Club in Berlin; a congress on 'technology, society and utopia' (quote from the website). This is my small diary (or 'weblog' as such things are called recently) of these 3 days.

You have to read this from the bottom to the top, mind you.

Day 3

17.00

Bah. I did not take part in this year's Beopardy, the hacker jeopardy. Should have done, questions were (mostly) easy to answer. Even more tempted to take part next year =)

But: three qualification games with 3 people each, plus one final round with the 3 winners plus last year's champion takes too long. It's very exhausting even if only watching it.

And thus ends a splendid congress. Very interesting and competent talks, a new visitor record (especially the topics with big social implications were very crowded) and bad food.

Did I mention that I am looking forward to the video and audio files? =)

16.00

Then of course there was one of my favourites: Security Nightmares III, or: what we will laugh about next year.

After looking at what was predicted correctly last year (seems like none of us foretold the problems with those pesky dialers on windows), most people agreed on one important thing to expect trouble from next year: mobile stuff, including phones, pdas etc. We will have much fun with the devices coming with complete operating systems ... including the need to patch them. Most vendors only allow the shops to do this, and each update process takes like 30 minutes. Go figure :-)

15.00

Again I witnessed the end of another talk, this time related to the lockpicking championship that is always taking place alongside the congress. A guy from the german federal police departement told about the forensics of lockpicking -- I hear the full talk on audio I hope! He seemed surprised by the good questions his audience was asking.

The presentation of this year's Big Brother Awards from Germany, Austria and Switzerland was so la la. Not too exciting, but then again not slow enough to bore me. Ah well. Can't have all talks at a great level.

13.00

Just sitting around in the room where a talk about artificial (un)intelligence, especially computer chess, is about to take place. I witnessed the last minutes of a thing about the upcoming laws about copyright etc. in the EU. A guy almost went mad when a politician from the german social democratic party SPD was 'allowed' to speak. Some people are just out of their tiny minds it seems.

The chess talk was funny. The speaker told the audience how chess programs usually work, and how to play against a computer program to at least witness how stupid such programs are. He defined this as the hack value in playing computer chess, and as the only chance to actually win against these programs.

11.00

Bad froschi. Not only did I manage to oversleep again, but I also noticed that I missed every instance of a series of "Callcenter Anecdotes". Top candidates for downloads when the video and audio files are available I assume.

At 11.00 I missed a talk called "Zero tool hacking" which intended to describe hacking with only few or no useful programs at hand.

Day 2

20.00

I intended to have a coffee with a friend of mine in the afternoon, but she decided not to call back again as she promised - so I am now sitting in the thing that's announced to be a Patent Party, with this notice remaining here forever to make her shame known :)

Funny thing though, with music, absurd plays and talking. Well, as software patents are absurd this makes perfect sense.

The best part was the announcement of the winners of a contest. The tasks:

  1. Pick a random software patent from a collection
  2. Write an example program, as short as possible, that violates the patent, and document it
  3. Additional points were granted for showing that the german government violates the patent as well.

The winner made 42 points =)

19.30

Sitting in a talk that I am actually not interested in at all, but I am quite close to a wlan access point. Still not close to a decent working connecting, but it's finally working at all. My card most be really broken.

17.00

Marvelous talk titled 'The 5 gates of manipulation'. Describe d were the 5 steps of successfully manipulation people. Good slides, good video snipplets ... good talk =) I even took a couple of notes.

It was not technical at all and can (and should!) be given to your friends after you heard it yourself. There will be mp3 (or ogg) files i assume; no clue if there will be video files.

Side note: something is wrong with my wavelan card. I cannot get it to work for ages now; it comes up, but dhcpcd is not getting an ip address. And the signal quality isn't exactly great either.

Another side note, 5 minutes later: it's working now.

Yet another side note, 2 minutes after that: down again. Grrrr.

14.00

Very technical talk about quantum cryptography. Still fun, the talker never gave a speech using a computer before :-)

After that I basically fooled around and heard a bit about biometrics, a talk that I left after 10 minutes though. I noted something interesting there, the same thing as last year: whenever a woman is giving a talk, there are a couple of men who want to show that their knowledge is at least equal or better. Especially in technical talks, women are always getting interrupted continously. Men are a pain.

Day 1

20.00

A good an in some parts emotional talk about EU data retention and the groups that are working on creating an european equivalent

18.00

Looking at the events related to the CCC in the year 2002. Andy Müller-Maguhn built a connectiong to a CCC member in Baghdad who is a member of the weapon control team of the UN there. People could ask him some questions; not exactly fruitful as everything he was saying was of course wiretapped. Lets hope he will come back in one piece.

After showing some of his pictures from New York and some nice examples what kind of press requests the CCC was facing over the year. Some technical problems delayed the whole thing for 15 minutes, and the rest of the talk was mostly about internet censorship in some parts of germany, especially NRW.

16.00

A talk with a crowded audience. And the topic is scary indeed. Rüdiger Weis focused more on the cryptographic weaknesses of the system than on the sociologic impacts; those were covered by Andreas. What really made the thing interesting was the guy from Hewlett-Packard who is leading their development team for a TCPA-compatible Linux.

He was speaking about the necessity of an inductive struture for a secure and trusted computer. In my opinion such an architecture is completely useless and not necessary. And most of all it does not even guarantee the user that the software is secure; it just guarantees someone else (not the user!) that the software was not altered.

Side note: My favourite slide was titled "The OS war is over", and my favourite line on it read "Windows means slavery". Regarding TCPA and Palladium this is even more true than ever before.

14.00

Hungry. Asian fastfood. Bad. Took long. Fresh air. Good. Too short.

Phenoelit gave a nice talk about attacking embedded systems. Very technical, very detailed, very nice.

13.00

I left the Wikipedia talk to make sure to get a seat on Felix' talk about scalable network programming, which boiled down to the fact that a proper implementation of infrastructure of the underlying operating system is the most important factor.

Internet access isn't actually reliable.

12.00

Wikipedia; an open society need open knowledge. The talk gives an overview of what an encyclopedia is, in what way digital encyclopedias already exist, and what a Wiki is.

Side note: The IPSEC workshop takes place at 19.00 tonight.

10.00

Opening event. Where we are, what will happen, some general rules so we can all get along. It seems like last year things were escalating; a beamer was stolen, a glass door was broken, piles of garbage were left behind. People were asked to behave.

Side note:'Die Verfolgung von Straftaten kann auch auf diesem Kongress nicht verhindert werden' - 'law enforcement cannot be avoided on this congress' :-)

There are quite a few interesting projects taking place in the Hackcenter and in the Art & Beauty ares; as soon as I find some spare minutes i will write go there.

The talk about video surveillance will take place tomorrow; so i bought the latest Datenschleuder and a Club Mate and am now listening to an overview about the history of the CCC.

Another side note: there is a new Blinkenlights installation at the Haus des Lehrers again! I will look at it tonight.

Yet another side note: There will probably be another camp next year! The Chaos Communication Camp, similar to the congress but in the open with tents etc. I missed this 2 years ago and would love to go there this time :) Date is ~ july 31th to august 3rd.

before 10.00

People are too stupid to form a line at the entrance. So hackers are just like common people. I am so glad.

Preparations

I guess I should start to find out which talks, lectures and workshops I want to spend time with this year. Looking at the schedule for the first day, I will probably hear the opening event (never been to one of those!) and then a talk about the current state of video surveillance (in germany probably, as this talk will be in german).

If necessary, I will have a look at a workshop that covers the configuration of computers to take part in the congress' wavelan ipsec setup. As soon as that setup is done, I will try to sneak into a talk about Wikipedia, a free internet encyclopedia ('a free society needs free knowledge' is the slogan).

Then the dilemma starts: do I want an introduction to IPv6? Or advice on scalable Unix network programming? Or do I want to see the Wikipedia workshop? Or do I rather want to learn about Parasitic Media? Argh! I am very glad that there will be mp3 sound files of all talks afterwards again. For the hour after that, one will probably find me in the talk about fuzzy cryptographic fingerprinting.

Then I will have to find something to eat and get back as soon as possible, for I expect the talk about TCPA to be very crowded. And the topic is terrible enough to deserve a lot of attention for sure.

Actually I could stay in the main hall because the next talk is an overview of events such as net censorship in the year 2002, and about other things that happened.

And because 4 hours in the same room are not great enough, we make that 6: EU data retention, given by Mr. Erich Moechl himself.

I got no clue how long I will stay after that. In the last years I left the place after all the talks were over, which again and again turned out to be a big mistake with lots of interesting events taking place in the late evening or even at night. I don't know anything about things that will happen alongside the official track of schedule; guess I will just go there and see.

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