Hackers are not your personal army: Thoughts on the expulsion of Daniel Domscheit-Berg from CCC

Disclaimer: The Chaos Computer Club invited me to speak at the Chaos Communications Camp 2011, and also flew me out to Berlin to speak at this. However, even if I went entirely on my own dime, I would still feel the same way about this situation.</em>

Daniel Domscheit-Berg created an OpenLeaks tent and at the talk, he admitted that his goal was to get the Chaos Computer Club seal of approval for their leaking site. However, he did not provide a legal framework and consistently evaded questions in his presentation.

One thing that bothers me, and probably Andy of the CCC, Jeremie Zimmermann of Quadrature du Net, Jacob Appelbaum and everyone else who asked Daniel a question is the fact that the software is not open. There was no way for pentesters to check what processes were running, and it looked as if OpenLeaks was a business more than a not-for-profit.

It’s important to disclose your motives early and often if you hope to work with other people in an open and democratic manner, and Daniel hasn’t done this. I was tempted to talk to Daniel, apologize for ripping into him here, and to actually talk about OpenLeaks, but he kept glaring at me after the public back-and-forth that we had about the site at his talk. If you can’t take public criticism, you’re not going to get any sort of assistance from me. It seems clear to me that I’m on the same list of hated people as Julian in Daniel’s books, and honestly even though I think Julian is a sexist asshole, I still consider him better company than Daniel at this point.

VHS has a rule about full disclosure. I’ve been used as a volunteer worker too many times, and so have the other volunteers at VHS. We are still fine with working on stuff, but only if the conditions are fair for everyone involved. Trying to use CCCamp as a promotional tool for your project is unfair, and it doesn’t help the other speakers who sometimes are putting themselves in harms way to deliver a message from their countries. It is also unfair to the Angels who volunteer at the camp (I would have done heralding if I wasn’t such a scatterbrained idiot and remembered my DECT charger).

I personally hold the CCC in extremely high regard, and it was a life-long accomplishment to have spoken at Chaos Communications Camp and to see that the CCC and the world is interested in the trouble I cause in my little corner of it. The CCC is one of the main inspirations in my life and is exactly what inspires me to get out of bed and to do the things that I do, and the fact that someone tried to take advantage of their trust really pisses me off. That is why I fully agree with the CCC’s decision to expel Daniel. If you want respect from the community, you have to earn it, and you have to not abuse it.