CryptoParty in Brussels
The protection of personal data is a trending topic – not only on the political scene in Brussels but also as a result of CryptoParties, which have become a decentralised global movement in past months.
Protecting our data, information and privacy is of vital importance, particularly on the internet. We always try to ensure adequate security for physical objects such as cars, houses and credit cards. But how do we secure our electronic data? How can we ensure that nobody is eavesdropping on our emails or text messages? How can we improve our security while surfing the web? These and other questions are being answered during these “Tupperware parties” for online privacy.
In August 2012, the “CryptoParty” was invented by privacy activist Asher Wolf in response to a controversial Australian Internet surveillance bill proposed in mid-2012. Since then, CryptoParties have been organised all over the world in order to create places where Internet users, security experts and privacy advocates can meet and exchange knowledge, where non-experts can bring their laptops, smartphones or tablets and learn how to install and use basic encryption tools.
On 23 March 2013, the Hacker Space Bxl, NURPA, Access and EDRi organised such a hands-on workshop for the general public in order to promote the use of privacy enhancing tools in Brussels, the political centre of Europe and home of many decision-makers and experts. Especially with regard to the data protection reform, it is necessary to raise awareness in the "Brussels bubble" for privacy as a fundamental human right.
Of course, CryptoParties are only a partial solution to a wider problem. The collection, processing and re-use of citizens’ data has become increasingly important from an economic perspective. This has lead to pressure to weaken this fundamental right and also to change the legislative framework to make legal protections less predictable and robust. We do not only need to individually “defend our own privacy if we expect to have any”, we now need to make sure that the current reform will lead to better data protection for all.
Slides of the introduction to the Brussels CryptoParty (23.03.2013)
EDRi Data protection booklet
Tech Tools for activism
Tor – Anonymity online
(Contributions by Kirsten Fiedler - EDRi)