Goldsmiths hosts event to teach internet self-defence

Goldsmiths lecturers are holding a Crypto festival lectures on Saturday. Pic: Crypto Party

Goldsmiths lecturers are holding a Crypto festival lectures on Saturday. Pic: Crypto Party

One of the biggest UK events against internet surveillance since the Snowden leaks will be held at Goldsmiths this weekend.

CryptoFestival 2013 is inspired by the CryptoParty movement, a global initiative to introduce the public to basic ways of encrypting their online communication.

A series of workshops will demonstrate how to hide your online tracks in less than five minutes while browsing, emailing and chatting.

The festival is organized by Goldsmiths’ professor Matt Fuller from the Centre for Cultural Studies and lecturer in creative and social computing, Dan McQuillan.

McQuillan said: “The festival is about trying to reclaim a positive future for the internet. People have accepted the idea of a global communications commons and they’re not happy to see it taken away. So the battle is on.”

He believes the Government is “creating walls between the internet”, which defies the very essence of internet culture and that many people fear online surveillance wanting to protect their right to privacy.

He added: “A blanket surveillance of everything all the time is being fed into algorithms to decide whether we are a problem or threat. It’s closing down our future.”

The festival will feature speakers such as ex-MI5 whistleblower Annie Machon, Professor Ross Anderson from Cambridge University and Nick Pickles from Big Brother Watch, a British civil rights pressure group.

Despite CryptoFestival being a practical, skill-sharing event, McQuillan does not believe there is a technical solution to protect internet activity from prying eyes.

“[CryptoFestival] is just a hygiene measure to stop the spread of something bad and to stop people getting sucked into a system that will decide your future for you behind the scenes.”

The festival also features more advanced experimental preventions against internet-surveillance aimed at professionals and the tech-savvy.

The event is free and will take place at Goldsmiths, University of London on November 30, from 11am-4pm. Anyone interested in attending can register online.

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