Technology of a Modern Uprising – Ignite Bletchley

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This was a five minute version of a much longer talk, about the technology employed during mass demonstrations, protests and riots across the world in 2011. …

This was a five minute version of a much longer talk, about the technology employed during mass demonstrations, protests and riots across the world in 2011.

It was presented at the Ignite Bletchley mini-event at Bletchley Park, UK in September 2011.

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  • Everyone says it's Facebook, or Twitter. But surely that can't be the whole story?
  • So it's a platform for national brainstorming. A place to finally speak your mind. to find your like minded peers.
  • But isn’t it just a piece in of the puzzle to - ignite, - witness - document - and spread direct action. But before we talk about the present, I want to talk some history The Crypto geeks grew up with enemies they'd plucked from the movies,
  • - and focused on unbreakable cryptography and what it means to the balance of power.
  • Many projects can trace back a lineage back to this group. What would you build if communications are secure, and anonymity is guaranteed? What do you need?
  • Today's crypto activists work can be seen in Android apps, and ROMs for dissidents.
  • But we're talking about revolutions. And that's all about people. People talking. Acting, together.
  • Like spreading training manuals hand-to-hand, because the social networks are being monitored.
  • Or like people communicating through maps, helping each other avoid the authorities
  • Or making your own television stations when the mainstream media is ignoring you, or outright against you.
  • Or assembling community flash mobs assembled to prevent residential foreclosures.
  • But what happens when the authorities find out. And they’re going to. They’re confused, scared and dangerous. What do they do? What could they do?
  • They could cut off the internet. Or the phone networks. Or worse: hack your Facebook account.
  • If shutting the internet is to stop the country fomenting online and indoors, the first thing to do is to go out and protest.
  • And if it's keep the world hearing the news, then the world often finds a way to help. Friends, Families, Expats, Exiles can help.
  • And for the masses - your friendly internet hacker collective steps in. If you still have a dial tone, they'll get you the internet.
  • Or it gets tricky; and extraordinary. If snipers are ordered to start shooting camera phone users, what then?Courage, desperation and video streaming are, for some, the only thing left.
  • And if the pictures get out, if the injustices can be seen, then they have chance of inspiring the people and invoking political pressure from many flanks. The chance at winning.
  • But this year’s action will fuel next year’s. Both sides learn from one another, and learn each others tech and techniques. I have a feeling that we haven’t seen the last of those crypto geeks.
  • I don’t know what’s going to happen next. By definition, no-one does. But digging beneath the nightly news, it’s inspiring to watch.


  • 1. Technology of a Modern Uprising
    • @jhugman
  • 2.
  • 3. Camera phone, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Al Jazeera
  • 4. Cypherpunks 1994 TOR, PGP, Secure IM Rubberhose
  • 5. since Cypherpunks Bitcoin, Bittorrent, Wikileaks
  • 6. The Guardian Project Obscura Cam, TorDroid, Secure IM
  • 7. Iran 1979, 2009; Israel 2011 Private prayer, public protest
  • 8. Egypt 2011, #ukriot 2011 Gene Sharp inspired
  • 9. London Student Demos 2010 Ushahidi, Sukey
  • 10. Spain, Portugal, Israel #occupywallstreet 2011 UStream, Livecast, GDocs
  • 11. Spain #yeswecamp 2011 200+ evictions prevented
  • 12.
  • 13. BART California 2011
  • 14. Tunisia, Egypt 2011 Pro-internet ralleys
  • 15. Egypt, Syria, Libya 2011 Satellite phones, SD Card smuggling
  • 16. “ We are from the internet. And we come in peace.”
    • Telecomix, 2011
    Egypt, Libya 2011 Dial up ISPs, Secure PBX, Shortwave Radio
  • 17. Syria, Bahrain Skype, Livestream No post-mortem upload
  • 18. #opwallstreet #mace
      • Anonymous name violent police officers
  • 19. Future Ops
      • Arms Race
  • 20. Thanks @jhugman