Backbone 409


Workshop ideas are listed here so you can think about them. You are welcome to submit more by contacting us. Workshops which are interesting for enough people will happen.


How to…

  • …efficiently deploy and maintain secure web services for a diverse set of users?
  • …design structures and systems that are resilient to censorship (i.e. both legal and technical solutions)?
  • …improve the usability and increase the adoption of peer based secure communications?
  • …build and spread community wireless networks?
  • …host your radical services inside the university?
  • …exchange resources between projects and across borders to avoid legal problems (including technical and non-technical requirements)?
  • …maintain services on servers cooperatively?
  • …disclose software vulnerabilities and what are the consequences for dissent of the various strategies?
  • …use perfect forward secrecy, and what is it anyway?
  • …make backups for organisational hygiene?
  • …use OpenPGP like a pro?
  • …do radical protocol analysis (about how our communication protocols influence us socially and politically)?
  • …understand the ethical and practical considerations around the power consumption of information and communication infrastructure?
  • …understand content addressable data storage and change the way you think about information and history?
  • …understand the environmental and political impact of technology mediated communication?

Skill sharing

Learn and teach tech skillz.

  • Programming in OCaml
  • Understanding and implementing TLS (Transport Layer Security)
  • Video with free software — on the desktop and on the web
  • Lessons learnt from implementing P2P video distribution over WebRTC
  • Using the Babel routing protocol in community mesh networks
  • Using LibreMesh
  • Using RetroShare

Project workshops

Project presentations oozing into hands-on development sessions.


Briar can currently circulate messages over BlueTooth, Wi-Fi and the Tor network. Help Briar work over new transports! Messages could circulate over GNUnet, Telehash, etc.


New projects at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.


Current state of the project, roadmap, demo of some freedomboxes.


Recent developments in GNUnet with focus on multicast social messaging. High-level overview of the system or introduction to the applications development using GNUnet APIs (depending on the audience).

ICU Oakland

Research and map infrastructures of surveillance and social control.

OpenMirage: hosting of secure decentralised services by non-experts

While we all strive towards decentralisation, the current state is that collectives with experts in technology run the services, rather than each and every person on its own. This leads to collateral damage such as shutting Lavabit down affected more people than Edward Snowden.

In our vision, everybody should be able to host their own mail/addressbook at home on her Raspberry PI. This is not done today due to the complexity of system administration: a general purpose operating system is used for running services. Instead, we develop a library operating system (named OpenMirage), which is configured at compile time, and can be run as a Xen guest or FreeBSD kernel module (Raspberry backend under development). OpenMirage is developed in the OCaml programming language, which is memory managed, thus certain classes of problems (such as buffer overflows) do not apply.

It is a radical approach - instead of reusing a general purpose operating system we developed everything from scratch in a modular way. But I believe it is the way to enable people to run their own services. A first project which uses this library operating system is Nymote.

The idea is further described in "Unikernels: Rise of the Virtual Library Operating System"

Swarming Talent Competition, 2013

A 15-20min performance. A local MC leads a mock artificial intelligence research team to conduct swarm research via a participatory talent show. The emergent dance pattern drives generative music, the dancefloor becomes a musical instrument.