A first outing to the Belfast Crypto party meetup was to a CryptoParty special ! The location was the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast and as it turned out it was a great setting for three talks on the night. The themes for the three talks were around the levels and types of digital surveillance and also the implications of recent legislation and how it has been applied. The first talk was Padraig Donnelly – who I’d heard speak before. Jonathan McDowell spoke on the UK legislation that applies to government surveillance and the final talk was a more practical demonstration of Tor and VPNs – which I understand is more of a staple at the events – showing attendees how to develop and maintain their privacy.
I found that the subjects covered and the speakers passion for their subjects was great to hear as this area seems to get less publicity than other areas of IT and Security. The time flew and once the presentations finished we were treated to an open question session which took for a wide range of concerns and observations. There were obviously a number of the attendees where the subjects and technologies discussed is part of their day job and they were able to contribute further information on some of the topics.
All in all – I enjoyed my first visit to Cryptoparty and certainly left with plenty to think about from the talks. I did enjoy the “Dark” sandwiches (because I couldn’t see what they were with the lights down – but they were very nice and next time I will have a torch 🙂 ) and would definitely recommend giving the Cryptoparty a go if you want to no more about privacy and protecting your own. I hope at future events to get closer to some of the technologies and gadgets mentioned as these look very interesting.