Our talk, at the Free Expression in Asian Cyberspace conference in Manila, yesterday seemed to go very well. It’s not easy to keep the attention of a room for five and a half hours while talking about highly technical topics, but I think we managed to keep the majority of the crowd with us. This is the second time Nart and I have given this workshop – last time was for an audience that included a good chunk of Tunisia’s police and security forces… this audience was a good deal less threatening and more responsive. (Actually, given how many friends we have in the audience, through Global Voices and other partnerships, it’s hard to think of a friendlier crowd.)
It’s hugely useful to have the chance to talk about security and censorship circumvention with people who’ve got a real need for the information we’re sharing. It’s one thing to sit at a desk in Massachusetts and theorize about the best ways to blog without revealing your identity – it’s something else entirely to talk with friends from Vietnam, Burma and China and realize that you’d better be damned well certain that the advice you’re giving is correct.
We’ve released the vast slide deck we put together under Creative Commons 2.5 – Attribution and it’s already available on the web. There’s also three (long!) audio files of our talk, which allowed friends like Janet to participate vicariously in the conference without coming to Manila. We’ll be revising and re-releasing the slides in a few weeks (I hope to work on some revisions on the flight home) and writing a few short, practical articles on some aspects of the talk: basic steps towards securing email, an easy (easier?) guide to anonymous blogging, basic circumvention strategies, quick and dirty VPNs through ssh… The fact that some of the conference attendees have offered to translate these pieces into Thai, Vietnamese and other languages is a huge incentive to get the work done.
Many thanks to Roby Alampay and the wonderful folks at SEAPA and PCIJ for their hard work putting the conference together. It’s always great to have an excuse to see friends like Jeff Ooi, Isaac Mao and Enda Natsution and meet dozens of new friends. I now have a pile of invitations to give similar talks throughout Asia, which is a pleasure, and a little bit of a challenge. And now I’m off to walk around Manila, my reward for putting this talk together. Not a bad deal, as far as I’m concerned…