This July at the Hotel Pennsylvania in downtown NYC, activists, technical experts, and citizens will assemble forces and prepare for the eleventh bi-annual Hackers On Planet Earth conference. July 22-24th, thousands of people from all walks of life are expected to attend this much anticipated hacker event. The HOPE XI conference, known simply as HOPE, is primarily sponsored by the on-line magazine 2600: The Hacker Quarterly.
“Hacking” in our American landscape is a broad term that can evoke negative emotions. Hacking itself is neutral and generally describes humans creatively exploiting and or manipulating technology and other systems. People hack everything in “our internet world of things,” from computers and gardens, to life itself. HOPE XI aims to emulate similar cultural events that bring people together to engender community building and discuss happenings, but in the world of hacking.
On its face, HOPE is geared towards the technical types that enjoy digital technology, but it also attracts hobbyists, activists, artists, inventors, directors, engineers, ham radio enthusiasts, citizens, journalists, and lock pickers. The conference is renowned for its speakers and the diversity of interest represented, as well as being the premier spot in NYC to drink the happily caffeinated “Club Mate” soda.
Emmanuel Goldstein, the lead editor of 2600 Magazine, helps out with HOPE and also hosts a hacker interest radio program called Off The Hook which is carried by WBAI radio 99.5 fm NYC. This past week on June 8th, during the weekly Wednesday program, Goldstein and others discussed HOPE insider updates and details. Listeners were assured that HOPE’s famous Internet connection bandwidth is ever increasing in 2016. An organizer, Kyle, discussed the history of networking logistics at HOPE and declared that “having run the numbers and located the knobs” staff has turned the conference connection up from 10 Gbits/s in 2014 to 11 Gbits/s for HOPE XI. And if that’s not enticing enough for anybody, HOPE staff leaked the possibility of sporting air conditioned wifi. That is, the fancy new 802.11AC wifi standard that rolls in at a chilly 1.3Gbit/s.
You can check out the conference’s web page at HOPE.net, there you’ll find things pertinent to attendees, vendors, press, and sponsors, and an FAQ with some humor. As of yet, you won’t be able to access a list of speakers for the upcoming conference. It is alleged that it won’t be available until later in June.
It is confirmed that this years HOPE conference will feature Cory Doctorow as a keynote speaker. Doctorow is the co-editor of the blog Boing Boing, a science fiction author, an intellectual rights advocate, and is currently the only keynote publicly announced for this year’s conference. Having viewed some of Doctorow’s lectures on-line, I think he’ll be an animated and fascinating speaker well poised to discuss modern civil liberties, technology, and policy.
In the past, HOPE attendees have participated in discussions on topics like social engineering, repair/remake culture, vintage computing, Internet surveillance and encryption, lifestyles, opensource, mobile devices, and more.
I’m a GNU Linux user and I find myself in the fight for openness, privacy, and peace in the new millennium. In light of revelations from state officials and various other whistleblowers, todays atmosphere of hi-tech feels especially sinister. Surveillance has become widespread, indiscriminate, and real. All this while we humans are facing serious existential threats from pollution and concentrated wealth that is seizing power in all modes of our lives. We watch them unlock iPhones, command war drones, and leverage fear to vilify hackers and dissenters to the general public.
The hackers on planet earth are marginalized because they are a powerful force of counter culture in the modern era. It’s no wonder you’ve never heard of a conference like this. Our community’s curiosity and technical ability puts us in a special position to care for what we love and what affects everyone. Go to HOPE XI this year and see for yourself. Become part of a hacker community that works tirelessly, in spite of the odds, to keep technology human.