Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Little Trouble in BigTown #4
(Written from the convention center)

Today I went to a conference on Privacy and Security in the real world and on teh Intehwehb. It marked my very first Celebrity Sighting of the summer, as I saw a guy with a salt-and-pepper beard and a long ponytail who looked a lot like Bruce Schneier. In fact, it *WAS* Bruce Schneier, and I was so geeked out that I practically wanted to jump up and down. I didn't, unfortunately, although that would have been really cool.

In fact, Mr. Schneier sat down and talked to myself and several other young geeks who were watching a demonstration of TrueCrypt, which is a surprisingly robust (or "Ordo-like", if you've read Cryptonomicon") program for encrypting your sensitive data, if you think cryptography is cool, or if you're like Mr. Schneier and routinely start sentences with phrases like "So let's say you're being interrogated by the secret police..."

I then set up station at Geek Share, a little open table where geeks like me sat down with signs proclaiming what skills we had or programs we could teach people to use. It sits right outside the Grand Ballroom where the convention's panel and forum are being held, and probably more than a few Proms (for high school) or Semis (for college) as well.

From the various self-proclaimed privacy and security geeks (many of whom have the stylish long hair and ponytails), I learned about all kinds of things that made the Paranoiac in me cry, like the BlueTooth Sniper Rifle, which allows you to read all the passwords, contacts, and files off of a BlueTooth-enabled phone, or a bomb that will only detonate when someone with a specific RFID signature from a passport, Enhanced Driver's License etc.

-Edit: I also forgot there was a big screen in the ballroom that had a live Twitter feed of participants and audience members in the audience, displayed on a massive screen behind the panel participants. At first most of the Tweets were about what was going on ("#conference: moderator just said....") but then someone said "#conference: what do you geeks and lawyers think about Gay Marriage" and suddenly the on-topic tweets were obliterated under a blizzard of bored audience members tweeting their support of gay marriage. It would have been funny except the panelists couldn't see the Twitter feed and had no idea they were being upstaged by a couple of free-lovers.

1 comment:

Minh Nguyễn said...

You met Bruce Schneier? You’re cool by association! (And also on several watchlists by association.)

Those cool devices have nothing on the tinfoil hat, however.