Backbone 409


Posted Sun 10 Aug 2014 00:00:00 CEST

Backbone 409 happened in Calafou, near Barcelona in early June 2014. Started as a small meeting, it finally drew little less than 150 practitioners for two days of intensive conversations sometimes happening in 4 venues consecutively. The high response and the good lineup of local and international initiatives showed the need for hacker spaces where anti-capitalist politics is the baseline.

The first thing participants highlighted was the good atmosphere. Many came a week before to help building up for the conference and installed infrastructure such as toilets, windows, electricity, lighting, and of course Internet. It was evident that autonomous infrastructures are needed and we have to construct them from the ground up. This contributed to the feeling of ownership of the venue and collaboration connected participants.

The meeting was an opportunity to bridge Spanish and English speaking circuits of techno-activists, enabled by the superb simultaneous interpretation of the Coati collective and their gear. This was not fully exploited but still many links were established. A highlight was the scene reports on the past and present from Italy, Netherlands, Hungary, Catalonia, Germany, and Mexico (in order of appearance).

Developers of privacy-oriented operating systems like Freepto, Subgraph OS and Tails met each other and their (potential) users, discussing features to be adopted from each others’ codebases. In addition to North European and North American projects, operators of autonomous servers such as Espora (Mexico) and Espiv (Greece) exchanged experiences and best practices. Sarava (Brazil) tech collective reported on the seizure of their server and a 24 hour “cryptorave” with 2000 attendants organised in São Paolo. The keysigning party (a.k.a. certification meeting) was surrounded by much debate so that best practices and recommended configuration files received major updates, while alternatives to OpenPGP like PBP were proposed.

The roundtables on the four focus topics (resilient hosting, decentralised architectures, project sustainability, and usable cryptography) offered an overview with the participation of 5-6 representatives of relevant projects and a moderator. These were good for introducing the major discussions and actors in the problem space but usually not enough to really push the discussions to a new level. We hope that once the topics are identified, such discussions will evolve during the next conferences like Interference and FSCONS, as well as the various hackmeetings. Other program points included a look at the relationship between the tech industry and the human geography of cities (in correspondence with the controversy about Google buses), an outdoor survivor workshop, a reading of the Liquid Surveillance book, project presentations and many more. Finally, in terms of developing the infrastructure of the global network, the idea of Virtual Internet Exchange Points was proposed as a peering space for VPN providers.

Since Calafou is in the middle of the forest, accommodation was provided on-site (campsite and dormitory) and food was prepared with the help of participants. On the upside, the killer application of the catering was a donation-based OpenWRT cocktail bar which should be replicated in other meetings. On the downside, we ran out of Club Mate on the second day because of logistical problems. Please send us more documentation.

Posted Fri 08 Aug 2014 00:00:00 CEST

Found some notes on the discussion of Hacker Communities in different countries.

Posted Thu 07 Aug 2014 00:00:00 CEST

Some program points of the schedule.

Posted Sat 14 Jun 2014 00:00:00 CEST

Posted Fri 13 Jun 2014 00:00:00 CEST

Backbone 409 has adopted a policy against harassment in order to provide a safe experience for all people. Therefore, Backbone 409 will not tolerate any form of harassment or disrespect to any participants of the event. Harassment include offensive comments based on gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, physical appearance, disability, ethnicity, religion and social economic condition, including intimidation, persecution, photographs or video, interruption or disruption of talks and events, unwanted physical contact. People whose behavior violates these policy will be warned and must immediately cease the offensive behavior, or they will have to leave the event. If you have experienced harassment, please contact one of the BB409 organizers, if you don't know who they are, go to the infopoint.

Backbone 409 is committed to making the space as accessible as possible. If there is something that the organizers can do to help make the space accessible for you, please contact one of the BB409 organizers.

Posted Wed 11 Jun 2014 00:00:00 CEST

Backbone 409 is a Do It Yourself, non-commercial event. We are in the middle of the forest so we will have food and drinks available to participants. Food tickets can be bought at the infopoint, so go there when you arrive. The prices are the following:

  • 3€ breakfast
  • 6€ lunch
  • 6€ dinner

Therefore food for one day is 15€ and for the two days of the meeting 30€. Friday dinner will work too. Please keep these in mind when you are preparing to come, and do not rely on the ATM in the village – bring cash! You are of course also welcome to bring your own food and drinks or buy them in the nearby village.

If you have any doubts or special needs, please get in contact with the Backbone409 organization team.

We are working hard to prepare everything and looking forward to an awesome time with you.

Posted Mon 09 Jun 2014 00:00:00 CEST

You are entering an industrial ruin in the middle of the forest...

Backbone 409 is closing in so we are posting a short status update. Please propagate to all who you know are coming. Don't forget to register (or at least drop us an email otherwise you will be hungry and without a roof at the event. We don't often host so many geeks at the same time, so please help us scale our infrastructure and bring with you:

  • at least a mat and a sleeping bag and bring a tent if you can (as some people have already arrived, mattresses are largely occupied now and there are few places left in the dormitories)
  • forks, spoons, knives
  • ethernet cables
  • power strips
  • switches
  • beamers
  • your pirate content to share
  • torch or front light
  • insect repellent
  • markers, whiteboard markers, pens, post-its, etc.
  • sunscreen

Please don't bring your dog, as we have a lot of animals in Calafou already and it would surely be a source of conflict during the meeting.

If you want to help Calafou grow, have a look at our wishlist.

If you have any doubts or special needs, please get in contact with the Backbone409 organization team.

Posted Sun 08 Jun 2014 00:00:00 CEST

The La Responsable social center, in Garraf, 35 km South from Calafou, home of the Don't Panic hacklab and the Guifilab center of its county is under eviction threat.

Backbone 409 shows solidarity with the social center and invites you to Days of Resistance in La Responsable before the Backbone week-end, with roundtables and activities starting from Sunday 8 to Friday 13, day on which we will celebrate our second birthday. Please notify your arrival to

Posted Mon 26 May 2014 00:00:00 CEST

An initial proposal of content (roundtables and workshops) is available.

You are welcome to submit more workshops by contacting us. Workshops which are interesting for enough people will happen.

There is no schedule yet with dates and time and rooms, or even empty slots. These will not be set before the beginning of the meeting.

Posted Fri 09 May 2014 00:00:00 CEST

If you want to join us, please fill out this webform as soon as you can to register for food and hosting.

Posted Mon 07 Apr 2014 00:00:00 CEST

Here is a first list of projects who confirmed their presence at Backbone 409. We are very proud of having all of them on board!

We believe they represent an interesting mix of both international and local projects, well established projects as well as ideas on the rise, working on very diverse types of infrastructures, all strongly committed to support grassroots activism.

If your project wants to join us, check our register page.

Posted Sat 08 Mar 2014 00:00:00 CET

We are releasing today our call for an international meeting on autonomous infrastructures for a free Internet.

It will take place on June 14–15 2014 in Calafou, Barcelona.

If you are interested in coming, please answer those few questions so we can build a list of participants.