Thoughts on #net4change and a stolen tracking device

Sure. I guess you don’t put your phone on the floor when you crash on a night train. Even if it’s 10 cm from your pillow. Naturally, you go to bed with your gadget. Still, fat dude on bunk 82, wagon 5, did you strategically snore all night so you could snatch my phone when I was down and out? Or was that just a convenient coincidence?

I was travelling to Stockholm to film a TPB AFK scene around the seminar Internet and Democratic Change where a bunch of hacktivists and people from human rights organisations got together “to discuss strategies and possibilities for the future”. Network nurturer Marcin de Kaminski of the Julia Group and one of the Pirate Bureau founders, had curated an inspiring line up of speakers.

One of them was the super cool Egyptian democracy activist and blogger Salma Said. “I didn’t use twitter in the revolution” she said “I used rocks”. You can tell her frustration is for real when she talks about how Western media constantly exaggerates the role of Twitter and Facebook in the Egyptian revolution. “It’s not just inaccurate” she says “but insulting. Yes, we used the internet, but to exclude the elements that led to the revolution and only focus on a communication tool is wrong and misleading. It points to one class and one social background, making people think that the revolution was carried out by middle class, English speaking girls. These conferences are good but instead of talking about empowering people with the internet, you should pressure your governments to stop empowering the dictators. People will use the internet anyway. And, no, I’m not gonna thank Gramham Bell for the Egyptian revolution either.”

After the seminar we hung out with her friend and equally sharp videoblogger Sarrah Abdelrahman who just won the Swedish Edberg Award.

Hacker and TOR-developer Jake Applebaum started his talk by pointing to the paradox that to many Western governments, including the Swedish one, building open internet infrastructure in the Middle East makes you a hero while building the same infrastructure in western countries makes you a crook. A crook like Peter Sunde.

Applebaum emphasized that the internet in itself is a system for surveillance and that the network should be treated as hostile. He encouraged people to work towards developing communication tools with built in, default encryption instead of the way it works today.

When he asked the audience to recontextualize their smart phones as their own personal tracking devices, constantly surveilling you – for a second – I felt relieved that that dude stole my phone.

If someone knows how to go back to a life with a dumb phone, holla back! As pathetic as it sounds, I’m in serious cold turkey mode whenever I’m not carrying the interwebs in my pocket.

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4 Responses to Thoughts on #net4change and a stolen tracking device

  1. Ubuntu4life says:

    Glad to hear you are an optimist.

  2. posidjhgp+ says:

    When is the movie coming out?

  3. carnivale says:

    Check out preyproject.com – It’s an open-source program to track your stolen devices. I hope this doesn’t interfere with the production of the movie ;)

  4. bLoom says:

    I’ve reverted to the ways of the early 90′s where the internet was something you had access to at home and the mobile phone was too expensive to use often.

    Now I do have a dumb phone, but it mostly stays at home.

    I feel relieved when I leave home, knowing that no one can bother me, no one can track me (ok, that’s not entirely true, but for the sake of argument let’s pretend no one can)

    I am supposed to live in a democracy, but I am beginning to be too afraid of expressing my opinions.

    I am aware that most of my online activity could be monitored, registered and judged.

    Am I a suspect
    or a citizen?

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