Rop Gonggrijp’s keynote at 27C3

Must read for anyone remotely interested in technology and civil liberties:

Dutch Ur-hacker Rop Gonggrijps’ keynote at 27C3 (That’s the 27th Chaos Communication Congress for the non-initiated).

Some choice quotes after the break:

On the current (digital) civil liberties situation in the Netherlands:

The Netherlands used to be a country like Sweden or Denmark. Then it was a country like Germany for a bit in the nineties and after a confusing period with political murders and truly insane political developments we are now approaching England. I’m still guessing we’ll level out before we reach Italy, but it really is becoming hard to tell.

On depression, anti-depressants and necessary changes in society:

…the role of depression in the individual is understood to be to force change that is painful or expensive in the short term but much needed in the long term. Reading up on the truly insane numbers of people on anti-depressants and other psychoactive pharmaceuticals in our society, I cannot help but wonder whether this “unhappiness forces change” principles stops at the individual. Could it be that we’re prescribing anti-depressants to so many people that we are now below the threshold of relatively smart, relatively resourceful but unhappy people needed to bring change?

On Wikileaks:

WikiLeaks could well come out victorious in a new generational conflict, mentioned in the same line with the suffragettes and the Vietnam protesters. But as it stands today, my friend Julian is potentially facing prison time or even assassination for what essentially amounts to practicing journalism.

On the future:

As we enter uncharted terrain, we are the first generation in a long time to see our leaders in a state of more or less complete helplessness. Most of today’s politicians realize that nobody in their ministry or any of their expensive consultants can tell them what is going on anymore. They have a steering wheel in their hands without a clue what – if anything – it is connected to. Meanwhile the brakes are all worn out and the windy road at the bottom of the hill approaches. Politics is becoming more and more the act of looking at least slightly relaxed while silently praying the accident will happen sometime after your term is up.

The future is not about finding solitude and a farm on a hill, it’s not about guns and ammo. But it is about having working trust relationships with the most varied group of people you can find. And it is about imagining beyond today and picking up a wide range of skills. It’s about positioning yourself such that you have some flexibility. Even if everything stays the same, there’s not much risk in any of that.


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