Detour Through Their Minds: How Everyday People Think the Internet Works

1700, Noether
Speaker(s): Gillian "Gus" Andrews
When you work in IT or Infosec, it may feel like you're constantly fighting a battle to bring the non-technical people you work with up to speed on how technologies work. When you help family members with their computer problems, you may just want to throw up your hands and scream "It's no use! They just don't get it!" But when you dig a little deeper, as a number of studies have done, you find that the average person does have some knowledge about how the Internet works. They build on this knowledge every day - but sometimes they're incorporating what they've learned from that scene on NCIS where two people are using a keyboard at once. They may hold some common misconceptions. Or they may be sooo close and just need one little additional piece of information.
Gus will share insights from the study she has been working on for the past year about average people's mental models of the Internet, along with a number of other studies from human-computer interaction and security research. Key concepts like "mental models," "fragile knowledge," "stereotype threat," and "learned helplessness" will be explored. In addition, ways the gaps in people's knowledge impact digital security and how we might strategize on a large scale to help fill those gaps will be explored. You'll come away with better strategies for helping empower the non-technical folks in your life to solve their own problems.


The Ownerless Library

1700, Friedman
Speaker(s): Paul Kernfeld
Managing a subversive digital library takes courage: Julian Assange is in exile and the founders of The Pirate Bay received prison sentences. How can we design a digital library without a central administrator to attack? To meet this challenge, we'll sneak data into the Bitcoin blockchain, permanently destroy bitcoins, and build a peer-to-peer network entirely out of browsers. If we do it right, we won't be able to take the library down even if we wanted to!


Privacy, Anonymity, and Individuality - The Final Battle Begins

1700, Lamarr (3 hours)
Speaker(s): Steven Rambam
First came the assault on privacy. Name, address, telephone, DOB, SSN, physical description, friends, family, likes, dislikes, habits, hobbies, beliefs, religion, sexual orientation, finances, every granular detail of a person's life, all logged, indexed, analyzed and cross-referenced. Then came the gathering of location and communication data. Cell phones, apps, metro cards, license plate readers and toll tags, credit card use, IP addresses and authenticated logins, tower info, router proximity, networked "things" everywhere reporting on activity and location, astoundingly accurate facial recognition mated with analytics and "gigapixel" cameras and, worst of all, mindlessly self-contributed posts, tweets, and "check-ins," all constantly reporting a subject's location 24-7-365, to such a degree of accuracy that "predictive profiling" knows where you will likely be next Thursday afternoon. Today we are experiencing constant efforts to shred anonymity. Forensic linguistics, browser fingerprinting, lifestyle and behavior analysis, metadata of all types, HTML5, IPv6, and daily emerging "advances" in surveillance technologies - some seemingly science fiction but real - are combining to make constant, mobile identification and absolute loss of anonymity inevitable. And, now, predictably, the final efforts to homogenize: the "siloing" and Balkanization of the Internet. As Internet use becomes more and more self-restricted to a few large providers, as users increasingly never leave the single ecosystem of a Facebook or a Google, as the massive firehose of information on the Internet is "curated" and "managed" by persons who believe that they know best what news and opinions you should have available to read, see, and believe, the bias of a few will eventually determine what you believe. What is propaganda? What is truth? You simply won't know. In a tradition dating back to the first HOPE conference, for three full hours Steven Rambam will detail the latest trends in privacy invasion and will demonstrate cutting-edge anonymity-shredding surveillance technologies. Drones will fly, a "privacy victim" will undergo digital proctology, a Q&A period will be provided, and fun will be had by all.