What happens to, and with, our data is a concern that has gradually made its way into the foreground. A production of Lighthouse Studio with resident Chris Pinchen, CryptoFestival Brighton looked at the ways that we can protect ourselves, and others, online and in our environment. CryptoFestival Brighton was a day of talks, workshops and activities that armed us with practical, simple tools to help us be more secure online.

Investigative Journalist and Computer forensics expert, speaks at this year's Brighton Cryptofestival.
Investigative Journalist and Computer forensics expert, speaks at this year's Brighton Cryptofestival.

Inspired by London CryptoFestival, Brighton CryptoFestival aimed to encourage critical thinking about technology, data, surveillance, censorship and privacy as well as offer practical tips, tools and behaviour. The event was free.

Organised in collaboration with Lighthouse and Open Rights Group, the Brighton CryptoFestival built on the success of CryptoParty – a global movement to empower people to protect their privacy online through skill-sharing workshops. Thousands of people have taken part in Cryptoparties around the world and learned accessible ways of protecting themselves and their data.

Our headline speaker wass Duncan Campbell, Investigative journalist and computer forensic expert, who spoke on Edward Snowden and the NSA/GCHQ revelation.

Campbell has exposed state snooping for nearly 40 years. In 1976, he revealed for the first time the existence of GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) in a piece for Time Out magazine called, The Eavesdroppers. This led to his arrest under the Official Secrets Act the following year, when the government attempted to imprison him for 30 years.

After the trial, he joined the New Statesman magazine. During his 15 years, he investigated Britain’s secret phone-tapping centres, corruption in GCHQ, secret war time plans to suspend civil liberties, and the top secret global surveillance programme, Echelon. Recently, he has produced reports based on the Snowden files for the Independent, including how the British Embassy in Berlin was being used as a covert listening station.

Against a backdrop of surveillance by the NSA and GCHQ and tracking by companies such as Google and Facebook, the CryptoFestival explored surveillance culture, and looked at some platforms and projects that are being created with privacy as a principle aim, and offered practical advice on how to protect your data.

The format was a mixture of talks, workshops, and activities. The CryptoFestival was free and intended for everyone; no prior technical expertise or knowledge was assumed. Part of the day involved practical aspects, so many brought along their device of choice!

We used Storify to collect together some thoughts from our audience, photos and comment of the day – Read the story here.


12 noon: Doors

Welcome coffee

12:30: Opening presentation

13:00 – 14:30: talks/workshops

14:30: lunch

15:00 – 17:00: CryptoParty.

15:00 – 17:00: Game prototyping suitable for kids over 6 & adults

17:00: Break

17:30 – 18:15: Duncan Campbell

18:15 – 19:00: Networking drinks

Children were welcome, but all children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Date: Sunday 1 December

Times: 12pm – 7pm

Venue: Lighthouse, 28 Kensington St, Brighton, BN1 4AJ

Tickets: Free, register at Meet-up

Event Hashtag: #cryptofestbtn

Open Rights Group

London CryptoFestival



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