Geert Lovink on Mon, 23 May 2005 22:21:29 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> NL: Municipality wants to ban hacker gathering

Municipality wants to ban hacker gathering

The organisers of 'What the Hack', the 2005 edition of a series of
famous Dutch outdoor hacker conferences, were told that their conference
will not receive the municipal permit needed for the event to happen.
'What the Hack" is planned to take place on a large event-campground in
Liempde=20 (The Netherlands), between the 28th and 31st of July 2005.
About 3.000 participants from all over the world are expected. 'What The
Hack' is appealing the decision.

What The Hack is scheduled to take place near Boxtel, a village near Den
Bosch in the south of The Netherlands. The mayor of Boxtel, J.A.M. van
Homelen, cites "fear of disturbances of law and order and danger to
public safety". This is noteworthy because the previous editions of the
event saw no incidents of any kind -- neither at the event itself nor 
on the

Organiser Rop Gonggrijp, co-founder of the first Dutch Internet provider
XS4ALL and former editor-in-chief of the 1980's hacker magazine
'Hack-Tic' assumes the problem boils down to a misunderstanding: "The
mayor seems to have a bit of an awkward perception of what we, the
hackers, are going to be doing there. Yes, we think it's important that
bad computer security is exposed. But computer break-ins are such a side
issue for us. These are grown-up hackers: The participants that do deal
with computer security issues have been working in the computer security
industry for years."

During their 16-year tradition, the events have been turning points for
Internet culture. In 1989, the notion of 'computer networking for the
people' was introduced into Europe, laying the foundation for an
ideology which sprouted one of Europe's first ISPs: XS4ALL. 'De Digitale
Stad', the famous Amsterdam Digital City project, was conceived at the
1993 edition of the event. In 1997, visitors at the event used a legal
loophole to distribute an exported copy of the PGP encryption program,
forcing the US government to change its policies regarding the export of
strong encryption algorithms. The events have inspired a series of
similar events in Germany, the USA and many other countries.

What The Hack will feature lectures on the fight against software
patents in Europe, discussions on how to use wireless technologies to
get Internet into the hands of more people in developing countries,
presentations that demonstrate various problems regarding biometric
identification, news from the world of Open Source software and more.

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