Archive for the ‘Events’ Category
I’m happy to announced that AgoraFest will be happening for the fourth straight year in a row. It’ll be at the same place, Villa Maria, during the same weekend, September 22nd through the 25th.
For those of you who haven’t heard of AgoraFest (which, realistically, is probably a majority of you) it’s a small yearly festival for celebrating, discussing, and participating in agorism. I’ll post more about it as we get everything solidified. Suffice to say, I will be giving a few presentations on technology as it pertains to agorism.
An an AgoraFest organizer I’m sometimes asked what makes it different from the other freedom festivals out there. I decided to pen a postmortem of AgoraFest 2015 that explains what makes the event unique.
AgoraFest happens at Villa Maria, which is a retreat in Frontenac, Minnesota. There’s a lot of things to like about the location but Internet connectivity isn’t one of them. For the most part the only Internet accessibility is in the castle. None of the cabins have Internet connectivity and you’re out of luck getting it via your phone unless you have Verizon.
Because we’re modern day agorists we want Internet connectivity. After all, how else can we use Bitcoin or quickly look up the spot price of silver and gold? To solve this I was charged with creating a mesh network.
Mesh networks, for those of you who don’t know, are networks where each node is capable of connecting directly to every other node. The advantages of this kind of setup the lack of central failure points. It also allows you to expand a wireless network as far as you have nodes.
Commotion Wireless is a firmware built on OpenWRT that aims to make setting up mesh networks simple. I loaded this firmware onto a series of Ubiquiti NanoStations and PicoStations. The NanoStations are directional and have an advertised maximum range of five kilometers and the PicoStations are omnidirectional and have an advertised maximum range of 500 meters. Both are outdoor rated so weather conditions such as rain don’t require us to shutdown the network.
In all we used four NanoStations and five PicoStations for the setup. With this setup we were able to extend the Internet connectivity at the castle to all three cabins and a tent we setup for flying drones and launching model rockets. Speeds weren’t great because the Internet service at the Villa isn’t fast but we managed to get a reliable connection spread across a pretty wide area.
Setting up a mesh network wasn’t only a good idea technically, it helped demonstrate the feasibility of mesh networks to attendees. I gave a talk about mesh networks at AgoraFest, which included my overarching plan to get networks to establish mesh networks and eventually interconnect them to bypass centralized Internet service providers. In other words I want what Guifi has accomplished in Catalonia. Obviously that will take a great deal of convincing, resources, and effort but there’s no better place to find a group of willing people than AgoraFest.
I don’t have much for you today because I spend my evening at a meeting hammering out the final details of an upcoming CryptoParty. On August 30th CryptoPartyMN will be hosting a CryptoParty at the Hack Factory. We’re still figuring out a few final details but we will be discussing public-private key cryptography, Off-the-Record (OTR) messaging, full disk encryption, and Tor for certain. We may cover other topics as time permits.
For those who don’t know these events are meant to be hands-on. You bring your laptops, tablets, and phones and learn how to utilize secure communication tools. Hopefully I’ll see a few of you there.
As some of you may be aware I’ve been working with a group of individuals on an initiative we call CrytoPartyMN. The idea is to have an organization that meets regularly to help people learn how to use secure communication tools. So far we’ve held two CrytoParties and have been trying to regularly hold meetings every other week. Next Tuesday we’ll be having a meeting at the Wedge Table (it’s kind of like the Wedge Co-op but with sit down space, you still have to dodge hipsters on fixies to get there though).
During the meeting we’ll be discussing our upcoming CryptoParty slated for the second or third weekend in August (depending on venue availability and such). If you’re interested helping with the event feel free to stop by. The meeting starts at 18:30 and we’re usually there until the place closes down.
For those of you in the Twin Cities who are interested in learning about cryptography CryptoPartyMN is going to have a meeting tonight at The Wedge Table (it’s not The Wedge but the clientele are surprisingly similar so you’ll probably have to dodge at least one hipster on a fixie to get there) start at 18:30. Details about the meeting are at the link.
Look at me, my name is in the news!
Binney was joined by a panel that included Todd Pierce, a retired U.S. Army judge advocate general corps officer, cryptographer Christopher Burg and moderator Tony Styles to discuss the controversies surrounding the Patriot Act and NSA surveillance.
This is my fifteen minutes of “fame”, bear with me. It’s actually a good overview of the panel discussion I had the privilege of being on. If you haven’t and don’t want to watch the video this article gives the thumbnail summary. By the way, I’m not actually a cryptographer and am not sure how that title was attached to my name. Oh well.
Tonight I have the honor of being a part of a panel discussion on mass surveillance with William Binney and Todd Pierce. The event will be held at the Bent Creek Golf Club located 14490 Valley View Rd, Eden Prairie, Minnesota 55344. Doors, and the bar, open at 18:30 and the discussion is scheduled to start at 19:00. There will also be free pizza served at 20:30.
All the information you need can be found on the event’s Facebook page.
Wednesday June 3rd I will be participating in a panel discussion with National Security Agency (NSA) whistle blower William Binney and retired Judge Advocate General (JAG) Todd Pierce. The event will be focused on ending mass surveillance in our lifetime. Binney will likely be addressing the issue from a political activism viewpoint, Pierce will likely focus on legal matters, and I’ll be addressing the issue from a technical viewpoint.
The event will be held at the Bent Creek Golf Club in Eden Prairie. It’s scheduled to start at 19:00 and end at 20:30. There is no admission fee but drinks are going to cost you.
The guys over at Anarchy in Action put together a short video from AgoraFest 2014. Since we’re already in the process of planning AgoraFest 2015 I thought it would be a good idea to post this video as it gives a small idea of what the event is (which is to say it’s not a bunch of people dressed entirely in black plotting to blow up some bridges):