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Computer Chaos Club throws out former Wikileaks spokesman

The Local · 15 Aug 2011, 08:18

Published: 15 Aug 2011 08:18 GMT+02:00

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But instead of hippies it was computer hackers who had flooded this year's summer camp. And rather than flower power, the talk was of the latest controversies in cyberspace, especially the legality of hacking and the role of famed whistleblower site WikiLeaks.

Julian Assange's controversial agenda was a hot topic, following the release of hacked US diplomatic cables this year which again divided opinion on the whistleblower site and its founder.

Former WikiLeaks spokesman Daniel Domscheit-Berg, now a self-sworn enemy of Assange, used the Finowfurt event to announce the launch of his own platform, OpenLeaks, and challenged CCC members to hack it.

"He wants to use us as a credibility voucher," said the CCC's Andy Mueller-Maguhn, a close friend of Assange who stands out from the hacking crowd with his pressed shirt and briefcase.

"It's very annoying. By definition, our movement is an open one," he said, "but sometimes one has to set limits."

Domscheit-Berg was thrown out of the club as a result of what was seen as an exploitation of the CCC name.

Organised by the CCC, which fights for freedom of information through hacking, the camp takes place every four years and is a venue for computer fans to meet, debate hacking issues and try out new technology.

Hosted over four days last week at a former Soviet base in Finowfurt, north of Berlin, the camp attracted an estimated 3,500 hackers from 50 countries, an increase from 2,300 people in 2007, CCC spokesman Frank Rieger said.

Mixing conferences with workshops with titles such as "Cyberpeace and datalove", the camp attracted a young and mostly male crowd, united by the CCC slogan "Protect private data, exploit public data".

But beyond the "peace and love" atmosphere, the hacking community was split on several issues.

"Hackers are very individualistic, they don't like being put in boxes," explained Rieger.

Apart from Wikileaks, another issue up for debate was the legality of hacking, where many agree the lines are blurred.

Samuel Lesueur of the French hacker group Ecolab said he has always chosen "the legal route" but admits that "out of the boundaries of the association, everyone does as they please".

"Anything that's illegal has no legitimacy to me," said Jeremie Zimmermann, from "La Quadrature du Net", a French group promoting Internet freedom.

But Zimmermann admited to campaigning against laws in France that ban downloading data from the Internet and downplayed spectacular hacking attacks by the groups Anonymous and LulzSec.

"Anonymous and LulzSec, that's not terrorism, that's merely vandalism," he said.

LulzSec claimed responsibility for a 50-day rampage earlier this year against international businesses and government agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the US Senate and electronics giant Sony.

Story continues below…

The group has since disbanded.

Last week another hacker group attacked the websites of numerous US police agencies in protest at the arrest of a number of their peers, including hackers from the group Anonymous.

But it was not all philosophical debate at Finowfurt.

"I want to hack my girlfriend's webcam in order to spy on her," confessed one young man, who did not want to give his name.

“But I couldn't find anyone to tell me how to do it," he added, looking dejected.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:36 August 15, 2011 by jomamas
You steal credit card numbers, personal information from a person, a company or the government, either by breaking in through the front window, or through a computers system, you are a criminal, and you should go to jail.

Unless there is a direct act of 'whistleblowing' wherein the person is revealing a criminal act.

Of course, Wikileaks doesn't support whistleblowser, just communists propagandists.
19:28 August 15, 2011 by ngwanem

"Unless there is a direct act of 'whistleblowing' wherein the person is revealing a criminal act."

"Of course, Wikileaks doesn't support whistleblowser, just communists propagandists."

if the targets of wikileaks included socialists/communists/liberals etc, would your have made the same comments?

just because the revelations of wikileaks showed that your beloved "holy" conservatives at the forefront of wrongdoing, then your cognitive dissonant mind automatically switches to blaming other groups and never as much acknowledges the own shortcomings... so much for objective thinking....
14:38 August 17, 2011 by asteriks
Many hackers (white hats) sell themselves to FBI and CIA and I don't have good opinion about them, anonymous are exception but they are rare. Hackers should be politically educated but they are not, therefore they obey the state, better said bourgeoisie and its law which exploit society during centuries. If some crackers stole information from companies, what is bad about it? Police don't have courage to arrest corporations and politicians, only crackers can expose their dirt to the public. Wikileaks did excellent job.
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