Saturday, 9 July 2016

CryptoParty Newcastle round-up

The first CryptoParty Newcastle took place at Newcastle City Library on 22 May. It was organised via the Open Rights Group North East by a core group of four individuals (including me!) who care about privacy and sharing knowledge of how to protect one's electronic communications.

"Attend a CryptoParty to learn and teach how to use basic cryptography tools. A CryptoParty is free, public and fun. It is an open format where everyone is welcome independent of their age, gender or knowledge. People bring their computers, mobile devices, and a willingness to learn!"

Here is a round-up of posts and pages about the event.

  • Planning page on the cryptoparty website
  • Some visuals to promote the event
  • The event's page on the cryptoparty website (likely to be re-used for future events)
  • Crypto Party…in a public library…in the UK by Ian Clark on his blog
    Ian has been making the case that part of librarians' role is to help citizens protect their intellectual freedoms, including the right to privacy. In this article, he praises the fact this cryptoparty is hosted and promoted by Newcastle Libraries and hopes that other librarians and libraries will follow in our footsteps.

Below are some of the social media posts that helped promote the event (my sincere apologies for the video!! I'm still embarrassed about it, but it was great that Newcastle City Council Comms team took such an interest that they asked about doing a video and posted it on social media).

"Cypherpunks. Newcastle Library is hosting a #CryptoParty, this Sunday"
Newcastle City Council video


To protect our participants' privacy, we didn't take pictures during the event ;-)

Alex, one of the organisers, had prepared handouts which were distributed to people, and are now online ready to be used by everyone who needs them.


  • Cryptoparty hosted by Newcastle City Library by Shannon Robalino, one of the CryptoParty Newcastle participants and a librarian by profession, on her blog
    Shannon describes what happened at the cryptoparty and her experience of some of the tools. She also mentions the perception a majority of the population seems to have, that they do not need to protect their privacy, making cryptoparties a bit of an echo chamber. At the end of her post she points to some further reading and to the Radical Librarians Collective and the Library Freedom project.
  • What we learned from hosting our cryptoparty by Alex Haydock, one of the organisers, on Medium
    Alex explains the reasons behind cryptoparties and gives recommendations on how to organise one, with examples based on our experience in Newcastle. "In many ways, libraries are the perfect venue for an event like a CryptoParty", he writes. His article covers finding a venue, what groups to reach out to help organise and promote the event, what online resources are available, as well as what the plan is for the "after-CryptoParty Newcastle".
  • CryptoParty Newcastle and user privacy in libraries by, erm, *me* on Informed
    Starting with a definition of what a cryptoparty is, I explain why we held one in a public library by showing how it fits with the role of libraries and librarians. I then tell of how CryptoParty Newcastle was actually organised and what we did on the day. To conclude, I make suggestions on what librarians can do for user privacy in their institutions.

That's all folks! (except now you may have the Looney Tunes theme tune stuck in your head. Sorry!!)

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