Hackers Watch a World Collapsing Into Chaos

John Borland

BERLIN, Germany – The world is falling slowly apart, and the hackers here want people to pay attention.

For the next four days – through Thursday of this week – the 27th annual Chaos Computer Club (CCC) Congress will be held in the frozen center of this city. An annual event designed to showcase members’ coding skills and creativity, it has traditionally been a focus for a political activism centered on privacy and transparency of government information. This year is no different, but carries perhaps a growing sense of urgency and even responsibility.

With economies weakening and politicians sounding increasingly populist tones, with WikiLeaks revelations prompting defensive reactions from governments around the world, the organization is looking practically at how its community can survive, thrive, and even mitigate some of the problems of the coming years.

“It’s going to be a mess for a while,” said Dutch hacker Rop Gonggrijp, giving the event’s opening keynote speech to a standing-room crowd. “We are not called the Chaos Computer Club because we cause chaos. If anything much of our work has prevented chaos.”

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