What is footprint when hacking
At the end of December, the hackers of the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) met for the 36th time between Christmas and New Year for their annual conference and hacker party, the Chaos Communication Congress (36C3), in Leipzig. Over four days, around 17,000 hackers, technology freaks, hobbyists, artists, utopians or simply interested people came together. The focus of the largest European gathering of the hacker scene is on topics related to information technology, networks and security and the critical and creative use of technology and its effects on our society.
In the 30 years of its existence, the hacker association has made headlines again and again by drawing attention to deficiencies in data protection and uncovering security gaps in IT systems with targeted hacker attacks. In the case of the 36C3, the CCC diagnosed weak points in the German health network: Hackers from the Chaos Computer Club managed to obtain access authorization for the so-called telematics network. Over 115,000 practices are connected to the network; In the near future, it is mandatory to exchange digital patient data and electronic prescriptions via the system.
The motto this year: "Resource Exhaustion "
In addition to these issues, the hackers have also received the increasing threat from climate change in recent years: at the 34C3 two years ago, the CCC dedicated a day in its program to climate change, and in 2018 the hackers worked together with other NGOs civil rights and environmental movement involved in the Bits & Trees conference. At the 36th Congress, the topic has really come into focus: Under the motto "Resource Exhaustion", the hackers took a look at the effects of IT systems on our planet, among other things. Because, as can be read on the website, the "exhaustion of resources (is) a form of attack on IT systems that is considered clumsy and destructive." Sure, we looked at it with RESET.
Especially in the track "Resilience & Sustainability " There were a few sessions in the program that deal with topics that will keep our planet worth living in for longer: Climate researchers have reported on the latest findings and analysis tools, lobbyists have advocated the right to tinker and repair, and programmers have shown how to optimize software and logs the energy footprint of systems can be reduced.
These sessions, which you can listen to in the stream, are particularly recommended and absolutely suitable for beginners:
In this lecture, Marina Köhn (Federal Environment Agency) and Dr. Eva Kern (Umwelt-Campus Birkenfeld) presented a research project of the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) that was started in 2012, which researched the environmental relevance of software and recorded and evaluated the mutual influence of hardware and software and developed suitable measures to reduce the consumption of resources by software to reduce. An environmental label for software is currently being developed on this basis. An exciting lecture that shows that our digital footprint is not only influenced by what we do online, but also with which software and how we can make it more energy efficient! Go to the stream here.
When designing a website or web app, very few think about CO2 emissions. But what a more sustainable web could look like and how we implement it in our everyday lives is what Niklas Jordan reports in his lecture. What does a responsible use of resources look like when conceiving, developing, designing or managing a website or app? What are the requirements for modern websites and apps so that they are not at the expense of our environment? The answers are not only interesting for developers! Go to the stream here.
P.S .: There is the option of playing only an audio version of the lectures instead of sound and images - that saves resources!
The fact remains: we still have a lot to do!
After two days at the congress, I had the feeling that, on the one hand, there was a spirit of optimism and that our planetary limits were finally coming into focus in an area that on the one hand is significantly involved in increasing resource consumption, but on the other hand also has a major impact on one sustainable network and economical IT systems. But for the fact that the topic was the declared motto, I had expected a deeper penetration of the content of far more talks and sessions, yes, of the entire congress.
At the same time, the program of the congress showed something else, namely that the knowledge of the participants about the connection between digitization and climate change is far apart. While on the one hand the realization that computers and hacking have something to do with climate change is just beginning to arrive in many minds, others are already tinkering with new solutions. But that means the 36C3 is only a reflection of our society as a whole - there is still a lot to do if we want to create a sustainable network. The possible levers to reduce our digital footprint are becoming increasingly clear.
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