I attended a hackfest for the alleged purpose of furthering data transparency and other such entertainment. I expected a full-blown circus of idiocy based on the lead-up: instructions to sign up to websites for the purpose of Centralizing things, downloading iPhone SDKs, and other blatant evidence of Not Actually Getting It At All.
Imagine my surprise when I get to the registration desk and they offer me a photography opt-out. Now everyone knows that privacy opt-outs don’t work; either they’re ineffective or they are effective at a cost far greater than anyone should pay, but I appreciated the gesture anyway. So I received a badge advertising my first name and the fact that I was unwilling to be photographed. Spoiler alert: I was photographed at least six times. I have now cleverly changed my hairstyle so that no one can recognize me.
After people had arrived and rubbed elbows and consumed things, the grand dignitaries took the stage for spectacles of egoism so great that relativity made Dan Kaminsky look almost like a humble and reasonable human being.
This was succeeded by some organizing, coding, and ridiculousness. The group I landed in contained two employees of the advertising industry and one of the U.S. government. There was also someone I refer to as “ultracompetent astronut”.
Some things that were apparent: people
- really don’t understand the issues
- don’t care about or understand licensing
- are prone to insistent on the necessity of Github even when they don’t know how to use it
- don’t see why opt-outs are inherently flawed
- are perfectly willing to trade in their privacy for minimal return
- are sometimes willing to trade their privacy for different privacy
- insist that I should write in Python even when it turns out that I could have been using a real language
- still think that the threat model is only about what information you leak or choose to divulge about yourself, and not about other people informing on you.