The Next HOPE Conference Wrap Up

This was my fourth HOPE (Hackers On Planet Earth) conference, and it was amazing as always.  As I mentioned, I gave my own talk this morning (when they get the audio online I'll post a link and probably the powerpoint too), and went to a bunch of other talks, some of which were quite newsworthy.  Below are some pictures selected to give you an overall sense of the conference (many more here), more or less in order, starting with Friday:

Joe Klein talking about IPv6

Mitch Altman in the hardware hacking area.

Emmanuel setting up the Wikileaks panel.  Emmanuel must be a descendant of PT Barnum (and from me, that's a compliment), because he managed to keep the big question of the conference unanswered until the last minute: Would Julian Assange of Wikileaks show?  He's apparently wanted for questioning by a number of federal agencies, so, like any sane person, he stayed in an undisclosed location.  Jacob Appelbaum spoke for Wikileaks instead.

I agree wholeheartedly with Wikileaks' mission (and I've given them money), but Appelbaum came off to me as smug, condescending, and dogmatic.  The world Wikileaks inhabits is about as gray as things get, and I don't like dogma of any variety.

The amazing Locksport Wizard competition!  No peeking allowed!

Mr. Rambam gave an updated and informative (as always) talk, "Privacy is Dead, Get Used To It".  I have audio of last conference's talk linked from my writeup here.

My view while being introduced for my talk.

A very busy hackerspace village today.

Ham radio station N2H (I'm N3DZJ, by the way).

Emmanuel Goldstein moderating the "Informants: Villains or Heroes" panel with the most amazing array of hacker martyrs (each served prison time) likely ever assembled: Kevin Mitnick, Bernie S, and Phiber Optik.  After some background from the panel, Adrian Lamo--hated by many in the crowd--came onstage (I have a few links that attempt to explain the incredibly complex Lamo situation here).

I give enormous credit to Emmanuel, the organization, and the audience for making this panel work, and  confronting this incredibly complex and incendiary issue directly and head on. Agree with him or not, Lamo had guts to confront this audience. The panel asked some tough questions, as did the audience. Lamo articulately made his case, and Goldstein made sure that the talk was not disrupted by hotheads in the crowd. 

There is quite a bit of backstory here that I don't think we'll ever know, and the one thing that Lamo seemed unwilling or unable to at answer was: Why did he run to the media?  Talking to people in the hallway after the talk, it seems that Lamo has long had a reputation for self-aggrandizment, but to me, it seems that here he brought on far more hate than glory.  I personally saw someone shout "SNITCH" into his face on the second floor. 

The one thing we do know for sure is that Bradley Manning is in US custody in Kuwait; there is now a website to support Manning.

Johannes Grenzfurthner gave an inspired performance to begin the closing ceremonies, and then the whole organizing gang took the stage for some very well-deserved applause:

Emmanuel said that there were about 1600 preregistrations for the conference, all taken by credit card.  With all those terrible hackers, how many credit card frauds were there? One. And he or she didn't even show up.

My compliments to everyone who made this conference an amazing success, and my special compliments to the A/V and Lighting teams, who did a great job on way too small of a budget. 

Despite the negative and often politically simplistic take of some of these talks, HOPE gives me hope for and reinforces my faith in our future.  Hackers, in many ways, despite often existing in the shadows (and a few really, really needing deodorant), have triumphed.  Despite what you might think by watching cable news, there are plenty of people out there who have a curious mindset, who think for themselves, and are willing to continue to explore despite risks.   As Roadie, the conference director of security said in the closing ceremony, "we now own the world". 

Only two years to go until the next HOPE, whatever it's going to be called, and I hope to be there...