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Date 2014/10/03
Location Tech Inc
Type Hackathon
Contact Melanie

Menso Heus (from Free Press Unlimited) and I will be organizing a "hackathon" to help design a privacy enhancing device for journalists and activists for this upcoming Friday @ Tech Inc, from 6-10 PM.

The announcement is below. I'm sorry for the short notice.. but free pizza and drinks will be provided to everyone that shows up! I assume that Friday will mostly consist of requirements gathering, writing specs, and general-purpose brainstorming!


SBox: Usable Privacy and Anonymity for Journalists

We are excited to let everyone know about a new project to create useful open-source things for the whole community. Radically Open Security is working together with the Internet Protection Lab - a collaboration between Free Press Unlimited, Hivos and Greenhost - to help create technology that allows journalists and activists to connect to the internet securely/privately in an easy way. And we need your help!

So what are we working on? We’re still in the early stages, but let me introduce you to the SBox. The Internet Protection Lab wants to build a low-cost physical device that acts like a wifi hotspot that transparently creates a VPN tunnel or connection to the Tor network for standard end-point devices. As the end-user, you just connect your device to the hotspot’s Wifi, log in, and begin browsing, sending email, etc. Under the hood, the SBox will then transparently create a VPN tunnel and/or a connection to the Tor network, thus preventing the end user’s communications from being watched, and protecting the users’ identity from observers.

This is a community project.. and we’re going to need help to make this happen! Here’s what you can do to help us and Free Press Unlimited protect journalists and other activists:

Security professionals: the security architecture and protocols, and security analysis of the device’s operations and user modes will be a challenge. As usual, key and certificate management will be difficult to get right. We’ll need to ensure that physical compromise of the device doesn’t mean total loss of the journalists’ data, location, and identity. We’ll need to carefully scope what the device can do and CAN’T do. And platform/application security of the SBox itself will need to be audited. We’ll need many many sets of eyes to get these things right...

Devops/Programming experts: we need to create the requirements and specs, and then hunt for an appropriate low-cost (preferably <$50) HW platform on which to build. We’ll have to consider existing open-source SW projects that solve similar problems (i.e. OnionPi, Grugq’s Portal, Safeplug), and see if we can build upon them. And we’ll need to make our platform usable and easy to configure. Community organizers: We need help spreading the word about this project, recruiting more volunteers to work on it and folks to help us make our in real life events flow smoothly.

Users: As we start to have our first prototypes, we’ll want live feedback from the field about usability and security of the system. We’re looking for feedback from expert technologists and every day users, alike. Bonus points if you have experience as a journalist or activist!

So how can you help?

Come to our first volunteer meetup and hackathon this Friday, October 3rd. We’ll convene from 6-10 PM at the Tech Inc hackerspace in Amsterdam to work on requirements gathering and exploring what technical resources already exist that we can use. If you’re not a coder, no worries! Turn up anyway, as we’ll want a chance to get to know you and figure out where you can best lend your skills in marketing, testing or any other way you’d like to contribute.

Looking forward to seeing you on Friday! If you can’t make it, we’ll have even more hackathons and volunteer meetups coming soon. Stay tuned!!!


Related: Privacy_Software_Workshop_Series & Privacy_Software_Workshop_Series_II