I just got back from an awesome weekend helping with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association’s RightsWatch conference (this year’s theme was Civil Liberties and Democracy in the Digital Age: Privacy, Media and Free Expression). In an attempt to tie in some practical work with the conference’s policy talk, we organized a sort of booth/space using the Cryptoparty model to do some popular education around privacy. It felt good to contribute in a way that made participants feel meaningfully empowered to do something about their own data while being outraged at a political context which threatened their security.

Next time we organize something like this, there a few important things I’ll try to remember:

  • set up a QR code for people to scan instead of giving them flyers with URLs.
  • provide more visible question prompts (or maybe a wheel they can spin, like a gameshow) for participants who feel shy or put on the spot.
  • bring way more cupcakes than you think you need. 

All together, it was really a kickass, intimate, engaging event, so huge props to the organizing team at the CCLA (P.S., you should donate). My head is still swimming with some mix of hope and curiosity and anxious paranoia, and I guess that’s exactly the way a conference on this subject should leave you feeling.