This weekend I had the joy of going to the Hope Conference. I’ve been going to this conference for a few years and (as usual) I had a wonderful time. Generally speaking, the conference is filled with people who love to create, take things apart, and are curious.
Some of the highlights of the conference included a talk on SecureDrop, a talk by Steven Rambam about privacy, and a talk about legislation and privacy by Richard Stallman. If you get a chance and are technically inclined I would suggest you watch some of the videos here. They also have a bunch of older videos from previous conferences.
There was some drama at the conference when an agitator infiltrated the conference. Interestingly, my friends contacted me about it the next day and I had barely seen or heard anything about the situation. This was bad primarily because of the optics and not because it was particularly disruptive. I understand some people had a worse time because of it, but I was not one of those people.
Generally it was nice to be back at HOPE. I missed the one two years ago because I was in Amman, Jordan volunteering at RBK. There was one striking difference between this conference and the last one I attended. There seemed to be more general cynicism towards protection of privacy and personal data. Though I saw a personal glimmer of good news. More people than ever were talking about legislating privacy rather than just trying to come up with tools for privacy. I have personally believed for years that if you want to ensure people have privacy you have to legislate it. If you haven’t read Reflections on Trusting Trust, then you should. That paper is what convinced me that there are so many layers to our computing world that if you want to trust anything then you must include policy as well as technical protections.