FreedomBox / Project Danube at Berlin Biennale Hackathon

From May 15th to 17th I visited a Hackathon in Berlin, hosted by IN-Berlin. The event took place in the context of the Berlin Biennale.

The objective was for different distributed social networking projects to come together, understand each other’s objectives, share experiences, and align the different projects into a more unified effort.

My impression was that all participants agreed how such projects are becoming increasingly important, and how awareness of issues around online identity, personal data and privacy is steadily increasing among the general public.

The projects that were represented included GNUnet, SecuShare, Lorea, The Global Square, Briar, Deepamehta, UnlikeUs, Bitcoin, Tribler (online). Myself, I also tried to contribute by talking a bit about Project Danube and the FreedomBox. I brought the 4 Guruplugs which I had used earlier for demonstrations at the Internet Identity Workshop and the European Identity Conference.

There were a number of great presentations, both about concrete projects, and about general topics such as analyzing threat models.

My main takeaways from the event were:

  • There was an amazing set of existing technologies, some of which are already very advanced and ready for use.
  • The necessary effort to package up these technologies and turn them into an actually usable product seems to be much smaller than I had thought before.
  • Some of the projects would align well with the FreedomBox.

My current favorite scenario is installing GNUNet and Secushare on a FreedomBox, and adding a pretty web interface that allows distributed social networking. I volunteered to help with work on such a web interface when GNUNet and SecuShare become ready. Yay.

Some notes of the event are here.

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