HOPE X Roundup
This last weekend was HOPE X held by the 2600 at the usual crumbling and fetid Hotel Pennsylvania. This go around I decided to attend because of the promise of all the talks surrounding the nation state surveillance today and a virtual visit from the Snowman himself. I booked my room at the Penn (I know.. bad idea really) and went in on Friday for the three days. What I got from attendance mostly was a sense of how crappy the Penn is again as well as how rough edged and lackluster the HOPE conferences have been over time. I also got to see my Twitter feed load up on hate for the con alongside the political tweets for and against it as well.
I left the con on Sunday morning with the final feeling being “Meh” Of course this could be said about most con’s for me now anyway. I said it on Twitter and I will repeat it here for you all.
“HOPE X = MORAL FAGS / DEFCON = Drink and then drink some more #hallwaycon”
That about sums up my feelings about conferences of late. Hope though was rather terrible.
So back to the whole politicizing of the con. 2600 has always been more political so you kind of have to expect that. However, this year after the Snowden revelations and the actual visit by Snowden via Skype one was left with a sense of impotence due to the conferences lack of cohesion. It’s true that the nation states of the world are spying on us all. The NSA is drift netting all of the data on the networks it can and saving it for a rainy day. Abuses are happening and governments are lying but even after Snowden’s discussion with Ellseburg I was left with a sense that nothing said was empowering.
Snowden exhorted the hackers to rise up and create better software and crypto which to me is something we all have been saying all along in the security community right? I mean if not saying make better crypto then we have been at least saying “USE IT!” right? Overall though, nothing really new came out of this discussion other than the usual cognitive re-assertions that Snowden did what was right and that we are all now living in a surveillance state. While I agree with this assessment for the most part I also did not feel at all energized by this talk.
Overall I was not impressed by much at Hope and would agree with many who say it is a crappy con. Some may say though it is what you make of it. In that vein I will say that the Veal I had in Little Italy was fantastic but the restaurant failed on the seconds of bread. No, really, the Veal was a highlight. The conference did not teach me anything new and interesting and the venue really did not lend itself to any kind of flow for traffic so it was harder to attend anything you wanted to because you just could not get there. In fact my most prevalent thought each day was “FUCK I HOPE THERE ISN’T A FIRE! CUZ WE ARE ALL GONNA DIE!” That hotel needs to be torn down and something else built there… Seriously.
So on goes the politics of hacking… I personally believe things need to be done but generally I did not feel that this con did anything in the way of inspiring anything in me but a low level of “get me the fuck outta here”