Panopticon is a creative commons licensed, open source game in constant development, meaning that anyone can take the game and adapt it to their own needs. The game grew out of conversations between Maf’j and Chris which Maf’j blogged about:
Met Chris pinchen from Cataspanglish who is currently resident at Lighthouse. He introduced us to Techno Activism at the launch of #TA3MBTN. It was a great event of eye-opening ideas around data retention by governments, surveillance, Prism and educating the public about open data and data protection. Chris and co run Cryptoparty. An event which brings people together to learn more about how to protect their identity and their online shadows and data. We talked about the next Cryptoparty which is on Sunday 1st December. How do you make a tech event more family friendly? we talked about Rootbeans. A version of the game that could be fun, relevant to younger players but exploring the issues core to crypto party.
After a bit of twitter ping pong we came up with Lego Panopticon. In this game players use lego bricks to build surveillance structures by connecting to each other and exchanging ‘bits’. Players with the tallest towers can see the furthest and can therefore ‘help’ the most when it comes to informing other players with valuable information further away from their own vantage point. Becoming the Google or Facebook of the game. We’ll have to meet up and hash this out but it’s exciting.
We met up at Lighthouse and Maf’j already had a version of the game that we could work on. Natalie Kane contributed the mission cards and player descriptions during and after the session and further development has taken place by playing the game at various events and incorporating player feedback into the game rules.
We used Lego as it is cheap and ubiquitous and people automatically know what to do with it. The baseboard can be made from anything, just needing to be laid out as described in the rules. We used the Lego pieces we had to hand (well, those that we could “borrow” from our kids), so you can replace them with any you have available.
Currently we have plans to develop the game for other contexts, do a Minecraft version, a Raspberry Pi Minecraft version and to incorporate it into the Coder Dojo in Luxembourg as well as continuing to develop it through playing. We’d love to see what others do with the game and if you want any further information please get in touch.
Oh yes, stickers and t-shirts will be available soon….
1st version of the game
Demonstrating the game at Bee Secure
Two weeks have flown by since Brighton CryptoFestival which I organised in collaboration with Lighthouse and Open Rights Group. Based around the idea of
“Critical thinking & practical privacy in an age of mass surveillance”
and inspired by London CryptoFestival, Brighton CryptoParty & Festival aimed to encourage critical thinking about technology, data, surveillance, censorship and privacy as well as offer practical tips, tools and behaviour.
The CryptoFestival was free and intended for everyone; no prior technical expertise or knowledge was assumed. In general the Festival achieved what it set out to do and I’m particularly pleased that the inclusion of kids and families was picked up on, being highlighted before the day itself in posts such as Making CryptoParties Inclusive in the Open Rights Group Zine & Brighton web users offered online security tips in the Brighton & Hove News.
As well as talks and the 1st Brighton CryptoParty, the Festival also featured the first playing of the prototype of Lego Panopticon, a game developed with Maf’j Alvarez.
I was going to write up the event, but other people have already done it so much better:
Thanks to everybody who spoke on the day, the CryptoParty volunteers, Open Rights Group, and the Lighthouse crew.
The first Brighton CryptoParty will take place as part of Brighton CryptoFestival at Lighthouse on Dec 1st – (more info here & here) and inquiring minds want to know:
“So what exactly goes on at a CryptoParty?”
Cryptoparties are skill & knowledge sharing sessions which aim to teach people the basic ways of protecting themselves and their data from intrusive surveillance.
Generally the parties deal with how to have private conversations over instant messaging, how to encrypt emails, how to browse anonymously and how to reliably encrypt your hard disk amongst other things.
It is very important that you leave the CryptoParty with tools you can use on a daily basis, and explain to your friends how to do it too. All the attendees should come with device(s) they want to install tools on.
- We’ll discuss why Cryptography, anonymity and anti-tracking tools are important today
- We’ll install online anonymity tools
- We’ll secure our communications
- We’ll make sure we can’t be easily tracked online
- We’ll have a drink and a chat
No prior technical expertise or knowledge is assumed, so ask away about anything.
I’ve started my short residency here at the Lighthouse Studio and the first two weeks have flown by in a whirl of crypto/surveillence discussions and lashings of the builders tea which Lighthouse appears to run on.
Mostly I’ve been preparing two events, Tech Activism 3rd Monday on November 18th and Brighton CryptoFestival on December 1st, both of which are collaborations with Lighthouse and Open Rights Group and will be hosted by Lighthouse. #TA3M “are monthly meetups that happen simultaneously in cities throughout the world. It brings together a diversity of people interested in surveillance, censorship and open technology”, and the aim is to find people in and around Brighton who are either working on or interested in, well, tech and activism, and explore ways to work together.
When I first moved to Brighton I was surprised to find that there hadn’t been a CryptoParty here so I started nosing around and discovered that various discussions were taking place which have finally come to fruition in Brighton CryptoFestival, inspired by the London CryptoFestival which takes place the day before. It will be a will be a mixture of talks, workshops, cryptoparty and kids activities, intended for everyone; no prior technical expertise or knowledge is assumed.
My fellow resident Mark brought along some of his Emotional Infrastucture diaries and I’ve been keeping one on surveillance which I’ll be posting more about – it’s been a great way to focus on the topic and you can download your own over at his site.
So next week I’ll be doing more preparation for the events and also putting together a privacy session for the folks at Lighthouse – and somewhere along the way Catalan food got thrown into the mix too, so next week will see the first Practical Privacy & Catalan Cuisine Workshop ever.
I’m delighted to have been invited to facilitate a CryptoParty at the Escuela Universitaria de Magisterio de Donostia, UPV/EHU as part of the “I. Jornadas de Aprendizaje Informal y Comunicación en Red” which take place on July 15/16.
The objective of the event is to “ facilitate contact between initiatives of different characteristics and foster research that provides coverage and guidance to initiatives that are being developed and will be developed in the future. This impulse can be facilitated by contact between the university and the various agents of formal, non-formal and informal education”.
CryptoParty is an interesting example of a worldwide decentralised peer to peer learning network with real results based on real needs, so I think a lot can be learned from it. I’m looking forward to sharing ideas and experiences with the other participants in the event, and of course can’t wait to eat my way through Donostia and hang out with some of my Iberian posse…
#ikaskide13 is free and will be in Euskara and Spanish – register here