Juju's Bar & Stage is a beautiful old cavernous warehouse space that has hosted everything from secret gigs and exhibitions to film shoots, immersive theatre productions, dance performances and, of course, some exceptionally riotous parties.
Do you ever actually read the Terms & Conditions? How many of your passwords are the same? Haven’t we all been guilty of these at some point?
‘It is hard to think of our daily routine without the support of digital tools such as mobile devices, the internet, or social networks, but each has created new risks around privacy, surveillance, and control. These risks have been highlighted by a number of episodes in the past few years, from the Snowden revelations of 2013 to the more recent Cambridge Analytica scandal. The events of the past few years show us just how important privacy is for democratic rights and social and political justice’
While there is plenty of information about computer and internet security out there, many people don’t consider themselves able to process it and don’t even start. You don’t need to be a tech wizard to take simple steps to protecting yourself online and CryptoPartyLDN are here to help!
Organizing monthly informal meet-ups at Juju’s, their goal is to pass on knowledge about protecting yourself in the digital space. They offer an inclusive environment where people from different backgrounds come together and learn from each other no matter their level of expertise. All you need is a laptop or smartphone and you’re good to go!
With the help of CryptoPartyLDN’s Silkie & Fabio, we’ve created a beginners guide to online security that even the biggest technophobe can get their head around and banish the fear of all things cryptic & tech-y. Learn something new and take back control online with these top tips!
How did CryptoParty get started?
The CryptoParty movement started in Australia in August 2012. At that time, the Australian parliament had recently passed a new cybercrime bill that regulated law enforcement agencies’ investigative powers and the data retention obligations of internet service providers. Local digital rights and privacy campaigners were worried about the extension of powers granted to the government and to law enforcement agencies.
A local journalist and activist who goes by the moniker Asher Wolf had the idea of organising an event to bring attention to the topic. According to Wolf, the event had to be engaging, open to everyone , and give people the opportunity to discuss digital rights and learn about privacy enhancing technologies. It had to be fun, with music, art, and drinks . Wolf launched her rallying call in a series of tweets , where the name CryptoParty (and the corresponding Twitter hashtag) appeared for the first time – marking a new grassroot movement worldwide.
In September 2017, a series of monthly CryptoParties were started that goes under the name CryptoPartyLDN. CryptoPartyLDN events are hosted at Juju’s, an ideal space that allows to combine talks, workshops, music, video art exhibitions, and amazing cocktails exceptionally named after encryption technologies. CryptoPartyLDN can count on a network of technology experts who regularly attend the events as trainers or speakers. The average turnout is of around 60 to 100 participants. The events are always free and open to everyone. No registration is required.
Why is data privacy so important?/How does it impact people’s day-to-day lives?
The right to a private life is a fundamental human right that is critical for our enjoyment of wider rights and civil liberties, and for maintaining a healthy balance between the citizen and the state. Only when people have privacy can they truly enjoy their freedoms, explore and develop their personalities, politics, interests and friendships. Lack of privacy stifles creativity and political dissent and it ends up weakening our democracy at its very core.
What are your top tips for online security & privacy?
There are a few great resources online that we usually refer to, such as Surveillance Self-Defense by the Electronic Frontier Foundation ( https://ssd.eff.org/ ) and My Shadow from Tactical Tech ( http://myshadow.org/ ). If we had to pick the five most important security and privacy recommendations, those would probably be as follows.
1. Use the free messaging app Signal for private messaging, calls and video calls.
2. Keep your software up-to-date. Software vendors regularly release security patches as new vulnerabilities are found in their products.
3. Use strong passwords. Do not reuse the same password across different services. Make your life easier using a password manager.
4. Install a free and open source adblocker such as uBlock Origin.
5. Regularly revise your social network privacy settings to make sure you share the right information with the right contacts.
When it comes to digital security, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. If you have doubts or need help, get in touch or come to one of our CryptoParties.
What advice would you give someone who wants to get started in educating themselves about digital privacy?
Come to one of our CryptoParties! Also check out Big Brother Watch, a campaign organisation that works to protect privacy and civil liberties in the UK.
What are the common misconceptions surrounding the topics – computer and internet security?
According to the-nothing-to-hide-nothing-to-fear argument, honest citizens shouldn’t be worried about privacy and digital security as they have nothing to hide in the first place. This is clearly wrong. As our lives increasingly depend on digital technologies, protecting our data from unauthorised access is more and more important.
Information security makes us safer as individuals and stronger as a society. It defends us from cyber criminals, bad business-practices such as aggressive advertising, and pervasive forms of government surveillance. Defending our private data – such as healthcare data, political and religious beliefs, gender orientation, our private correspondence with friends and family – is one of our fundamental rights.
Another common misconception CryptoParties try to challenge is that information security is hard. While making ourselves completely secure is difficult (if not impossible), there are actually quite a few easy steps that we can take to considerably improve our security as average users. We encourage everyone to join CryptoPartyLDN to learn more about privacy enhancing technologies and best practices!
What’s coming up this year for CryptoPartyLDN?
2019 will be more privacy, more digital rights, and even more fun! We’ve been receiving very good feedback from attendees and are lucky to have the constant and heartwarming support from trainers and speakers. In the course of the past year and a half, we’ve managed to build a good momentum and grow our network of contacts. 2019 will build on this, investigating topics such as free speech online, the use of biometric technologies, workplace surveillance, digital self-defense on social networks, and the relationship between ethics and technology. Stay tuned!
Get yourself down to next CryptoPartyLDN meet-up on 29th January at Juju’s for a helping hand to detox from the digital world, have a drink and learn something new!