Global Contact Meetups

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To support and synergize work already being done online and offline, organizers of the Contact Summit are coordinating resources for various conversations and projects (distributed Global Contact Meetups) to become aware of each other so that a network will emerge with a life of its own. To be part of the network, nodes should

  • self-identify on this wiki page
  • describe your focus (project or affinity),
  • identify a contact person or project lead, and
  • explain the help you need and/or the resources you have to offer.
  • post a link to your Meetup Everywhere group

Here is Jon Lebkowsky's summary of the New York event.

Remote Meetup groups

Austria, Graz (hashtag = #E11fbox)

Decentral Networks,

  • 24th Oct. 12:00 noon, Forum Stadtpark, in German / English

Freedom Box, with James Vasile,

  • 24th Oct. 2:30 pm, Forum Stadtpark, in English

[1] Interview recorded on video with James Vasile

In the livestream Vasile expressed concerns about the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI)

Germany, Berlin

Germany, Dresden (hashtag = #datenspuren)

  • Selected sessions of this event have been blogged in English (see descriptions of selected sessions below the horizontal line) This event took place at the hackerspace c3d2 described in this free online book. The hackerspace was featured on this tour.

Germany, Karlsruhe

  • We are currently (8/18/2011) three individuals trying to spread the word about Contactcon and the Freedombox. We have access to some technical equipment in a meeting room at at the hackerspace Entropia described in this free online book.
  • Contacts: thomas AT hannes AT

  • Local page for organizational purposes and participant list
  • Discuss and find NY updates here.

New Zealand, Wellington

  • Retake the Net is an initiative connecting people with concrete projects to help keep the net free and open. We were inspired by the Contact Summit but have a special Kiwi-focus. More about us:
  • We have a ~35 member meetup group who is getting together every 6 weeks or so to share updates on the projects:
  • On 29 October 2011 we'll hold the inaugural Retake the Net Barcamp in Wellington:
  • Our website:
  • Contact: sibylle AT, or on Twitter at @retakethenet

Switzerland, Yverdon (hashtag = #forumeculture)

  • Reporting in English by thomas AT from this French-language event on "Ethics on the Internet and Social Networks" featuring:
    • Anne Collier from USA (
    • Florence Devouard on Wikipedia images
    • Olivier Philippot on Green IT

The following is a report on two sessions, one on "ethical ISP contracts" and another one intended to be an interactive exploration of general topics like the ones hinted at in the questions listed four paragraphs below.

In the first session intended for SMEs the speaker, a lawyer and author of a chapter in the free PDF book on international FOSS law, gave negotiation advice derived from his extensive practice. Michel Jaccard, co-author of an article in this brand-new open-source law book available in free fulltext.

In the latter workshop there was a perceptible gap between the participants' dissatisfaction with Facebook and any awareness of the alternative distributed social networking under principles of user-centricity or even FOSS. Ironically these same participants then went into the auditorium to listen to the sophisticated and comparatively radical critique by Richard Stallman (RMS) of proprietary software (later article defending RMS from his critics).

Thus, one can conclude that the organizers, who have impeccable FOSS credentials, had undertaken the job of giving the local public free access to the event to realize objectives of continuing education. These participants, however, as one must qualify the assessment, still have a long way to go before they could be said to have reached an understanding of FOSS principles, even though Stallman assumed they could follow the argumentation offered in his good French.

Organizers in Yverdon had posed the questions (here translated into English):

What are the bases for being able to use computer science with regard to principles of sustainable development, materials, networks and software – both individually and collectively?

How to use the Internet in a confident manner without having to fear viruses, plagiarism, abuse, spontaneity, cyber-harassment or other concrete risks?

Ethical points of reference and limits with Facebook, Twitter and other social networks?

What generic pedagogical scenarios are the most appropriate for getting the participants of a group involved in co-creation, as on Wikipedia?

In what ways is free culture a solid basis for integrating oneself well in the digital world?

  • Despite its being listed last in the alphabet, chronologically this event will be the first to take place, thus providing initial input for the rest of the network in Dresden, Karlsruhe, New York and Wellington.

United Kingdom, London

  • We are meeting on October 20th at 1.30pm at the Royal Festival Hall.

We'll bring a projector and screen films on related issues (including our skype interview with Douglas Rushkoff) to start a debate and brainstorming session. We'll also bring our pop up TV studio show to record some interviews and discussions, then post them on our plugandplay channel (plus blog post report). Exact themes of discussion tbc.

Info is the london contactcon meetup page here:

to contact us: info AT

Short descriptions of selected sessions in Dresden

The Dresden event was very different from that in Yverdon. Dresden was explicitly intended for hackers, whereas Yverdon was for a general public. This difference became especially evident in the different approaches taken to the relationship between the Internet and younger generations: whereas Yverdon started from a more paternalistic standpoint, trying to shield youngsters from harm, the approach in Dresden, as typified by one presentation of a project at least, was to challenge young people to acquire media competence, to appreciate the value of a private sphere and Free and Open-source Software (FOSS), and to practice data protection, as shown here in German.

Germany is a country with a problematical history of surveillance. Recently there have also been cases of crowds getting out of control, as in Duisburg, so that police forces turn to surveillance methods to deal with crowds. Only in June was there a case of this unlawful surveillance in Dresden. The larger context is the fresh scandal from two weeks ago known as the Federal Trojan. Only the blue lines on this diagram are lawful surveillance; the orange ones are overstepping the constitution. This overstepping was discovered and made public by the same CC Club (Berlin Headquarters) as that holding the Dresden event (Dresden Chapter) and the Karlsruhe event (Karlsruhe Chapter).

1) As decentrality is very important in new Social Media services, OStatus and buddycloud were presented.

Session: Data Models of Social Networks

Speaker: Anonymous academic (“Astro”) Video of original German version is now available here.

The purpose is to improve users' awareness of what principles social networks use. Examples of conventional Social Networks are git hub, delicious, etc. User profiles are in HTML and contain time stamps, contact references, feeds based on standards such as RSS, activity streams by others being “followed“, discovery of links, trackback, etc.

Basic functions are to subscribe and to follow topics using PubSubHubbub, Salmon Magic Envelope, etc.

This session also described decentralized social networks such as Ostatus ( and buddycloud (XMPP / Jabber ID, federated servers, Atom, open/whitelist/authorize) and the associated principles useful for choosing among existing ones or designing new ones such as:

Unified Modeling Language (UML),

Consistency, Availability, Partition tolerance (CAP),

Zooko's triangle,

2) Work on a PhD dissertation in the area of network covert channels and protocol engineering was summarized.

Session: Covert Channels: Information through the backdoor. State-of-the-art, detection, protection, methods

Speaker: Steffen Wendzel,

There are said to be two reasons why this topic is set to gain attention in the coming years: firstly, Information Leakage Protection to protect company information, and secondly, because journalists and other users in protected networks can escape censorship authorities by working in covert channels.

3) In Dresden there have been two sessions on hosting and how to avoid it: Firstly, Michiel presented Now there is a podcast of him, and this video.

Secondly, Benjamin Kellermann, an employee at the Chair for Data Protection and Data Security at the Dresden Polytechnic, showed how to make a user more independent from his provider and host. Calculations needed for cryptographic protocols can be done with JavaScript, which precludes any client-side installation (zero-footprint).

4) Malte Spitz, a 27-year-old politician with the 90 Alliance/ Greens, famous for having his day tracked by his mobile phone and published, spoke on data retention; a debate followed.

5) Keeping the channels open: Communication in Times of Crisis

Speaker: Alexander Heidenreich = 422342 at googlemail dot com

Alexander Heidenreich spoke on mesh-networks, email networks, offline networking and packet radio. First-world problems appear quite different from developing-world problems. But there are parallels such as David Cameron's threat to shutdown the net in GB. The speaker guesses on the basis of that incident that a threat like “Occupy Wall St.” here [i.e. in Germany] could bring additional risk of an Internet shutdown.

6) There was a demonstration of "how simple is to get into networks as an attacker and to read content".

7) A journalist demonstrated the use of his CD published and updated in a major German computer magazine intended to make a user independent of any computer he may have to borrow. The speaker has an extensive German Website of advice on privacy.

Session: Personal Data Protection for Beginners: Why and how to avoid data, data protection, data encryption

Speaker: Markus Mandalka, in Large Conference Room

Why are extensive personal profiles being kept of our everyday lives? How can such data be abused? What daily data tracks should I therefore avoid, and how? Shake off data octopuses, fidelity cards, encryption techniques for storage (hard disks, USB sticks) and communication (email and chatting, anonymous surfing).

Session: Many Little Clouds instead of One Big Cloud: Baking one's own little clouds instead of offering one's sensitive data to the Big Cloud

Speaker: Markus Mandalka, in Small Conference Room

Objective: to help an NGO with IT setup under conditions of data-breach risk

  • Selection of appropriate software
  • Knowledge mgmt
    • Mediawiki
    • Semantic Mediawiki
    • Semantic forms
  • Freedombox

8) Session: The Internet Should Not be a Space Free of Law

Speaker: Bernd R. Fix

Instead, we should have a discussion about how to guarantee the right of expression in dealing with both problems involving the digital world and ones that go beyond the digital world.

9) Session: DNA Databases and the Distribution of them in Europe

Speaker: uta dot wagenmann at gen-ethisches-netzwerk dot de

Not only Germany's Federal Office of Investigation (BKA in German), but its counterparts in all EU member states are building DNA databases, and they are interconnected. By 2014 they plan to have synchronized data with “secure countries” such as the USA and have constructed a transatlantic catalog of “traveling violent offenders” (hooligans, demonstrators, etc.). The speaker hopes to improve the awareness of this development in the public, compares it to data retention, and has an English version of the site,

Prüm Convention, 2005,

10) Session: The Bare Facts: Why everyone has something to hide

Speaker: Mark Neis, neismark at gmx dot de

The often-heard objection to doubts about data protection measures that one has nothing to hide has consequences for the individual and for society. A novel is cited about a government scientist who devises a truth drug

11) On the Relationship between Social Online and Offline Networks

Speaker: Mathias Kuhnt

The degree to which online activities of actors reflect offline behavior. It is a matter of intensifying real networks or being a substitute for them (overview Wellman2001). This speaker reports on his study of a whole class of college students. The two schools of thought are intensification (Lampe 2006) and substitution (Chan 2004).

12) Biometrics Projects of the German Federal Government

Speakers: Constance Kurz and starbug, in Large Conference Room

Face recognition – commercially used in mobile telephones for the first time in 2005 . Biometrics tend to be used especially for non-Germans. Gait recognition is also available.

Integrated Surveillance of Crowded Areas for Public Security,

The speakers are critical of the EU-funded INDECT project and the use of drones.

starbug predicts that databases of citizens' fingerprints will be valuable to criminals.

The technique "Verflüssigen" or to "liquify" in Adobe Photoshop is said to be useful for manipulating one's photo in a biometric ID.