Hackers gather around the computer campfire

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11 Aug, 2011 Updated Thu 11 Aug 2011 17:04 CEST
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Thousands of hackers and computer enthusiasts are flocking this week to a camp outside Berlin hosted by the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) for five days of discussion and IT exploits.

Housed in colourful tents nestled between old military aircraft at a former Soviet airfield in Brandenburg, attendees of the CCC’s summer camp are there to try out new technology, debate global computer issues and discuss anything of interest to the hacker community.

“We’re expecting 3,000 people,” said Lars Weiler, one of the camp’s organisers.

Through Sunday, those thousands of techies will converge in hangers to present and test new projects, as well as participate in discussions that may re-emerge during the CCC-Congress at the end of December in Berlin, Weiler said.

The regular CCC camp provides opportunity for those only virtually connected to establish real-life relationships. Others can nurture existing friendships within the cyberworld.

“People need this place to come together,” Weiler said. He continued, smiling, “We’re all people, not cyborgs.”

The 30-year-old club has continually drawn attention to itself through its hackers’ actions, designed to point out security breaches. Especially notable was the CCC’s March 2008 publication of a copy of former Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble’s fingerprint - done to emphasize how easily one can obtain and misuse someone’s biometric data.

This year’s meeting -housed for the second time at the former Soviet airfield in Finowfurt - is where Daniel Domscheit-Berg chose to introduce his new whistleblower platform OpenLeaks.

Domscheit-Berg, the former spokesman for WikiLeaks, made his the portal available for testing on Wednesday, exposing it to camp attendees. Over the next four days, the CCC community can test the penetrability and security infrastructure of its software in anticipation of accepting potentially sensitive information.

Current topics, such as the question of online anonymity and Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich’s recent criticism of hidden internet identities, are marking discussions around the airfield. Some of the many workshops and presentations scheduled on the program until Sunday are about “bitcoins,” a controversial digital payment method thought to be used by criminals, Weiler said.

Besides computers, the camp also offers a testing ground for other technological inventions. A security man made his rounds in a white recumbent bicycle - outfitted with a car battery, light and a blinker - designed to drive up to 20 kilometres per hour, he said. Nearby, an Austrian couple set up a grey telephone box as part of the camp-internal telephone network, the couple’s real passion.

“This is a great event,” said Heinz Darber vom Verein, who operates an air museum on site at Finowfurt.

DPA/The Local/emh



2011/08/11 17:04

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