[tor-reports] Trip report: Rally Against Mass Surveillance and cryptoparty

Matt matt at pagan.io
Fri Nov 22 08:08:56 UTC 2013

Last month I was invited to speak at a cryptoparty in Washington, DC,
hosted by EPIC. The cryptoparty was one of the events connected with
the Rally Against Mass Surveillance. The topics I chose to emphasize in
my talk were downloading and using the Tor Browser Bundle, downloading
and using Tails, and what Tor's anonymity can and cannot provide. I
used live demonstrations of the software as well as EFF's Tor and HTTPS
graphic to illustrate my points. The experience made me believe that
using slides over live demonstration would have been even more
effective. Questions people had about Tor included, "I've heard that
Tor is slow. Is that still true?", and "Can I use VoIP software over
Tor?". Other people who presented at the cryptoparty talked about
SecureDrop, secure passwords, disk encryption and other topics. After
the presentations Gary Johnson and Bruce Schneier spoke to the whole
cryptoparty group. I'd say there were between 40 and 70 people
attending the cryptoparty.

The cryptoparty happened on a Friday evening. Also on Friday, Public
Knowledge sponsored a lobby day to train and assist individuals in
meeting with their representatives and handing out talking points. 

Saturday was the Rally Against Mass Surveillance. Participants marched
from Union Station to the Capitol Reflecting Pool. The speakers at the
rally included Thomas Drake, Rainey Reitman, Naomi Wolf, Lt. Dan Choi,
and Dennis Kucinich. At the end of the rally, 575,000 signatures were
delivered to Congress with a petition to reform the Patriot Act and
the FISA Amendments Act, publicly report domestic spying, and hold
accountable the responsible public officials. I read later that over
3000 people physically participated in the demonstration. 

Some of the cool art I saw at the rally included projected video art,
papier-mâché costumes, hip hop, soul-garage and indie pop musicians,
and lots of handmade signs and banners. 

Saturday evening, a screening of the film Terms and Conditions May
Apply drew a smaller crowd. The director Cullen Hoback answered
questions about the film afterwards. 

A number of people said they were glad that someone working with the
Tor Project was able to make it to this event. I gave out some Tor
stickers. For me it was a good opportunity to connect with others who
are working in the field of online privacy. I was able to give some
non-technical people a better understanding of how to use Tor, and I
think I convinced a few people to start running Tor relays. 

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