HAR 2009

Date: 13 August-16 August 2009
Location: Vierhouten, Netherlands
Organizer: HAR

From the ancient days long before the first wayback-machine snapshot, hackers have a track record for appropriating technology that was meant for something completely different and putting it to alternative uses. And every four years since 1989, the international hacker community has descended upon The Netherlands in great numbers for a conference that focuses on contemporary and future issues surrounding technology and its social and political consequences. One reason that these conferences have been successful is the wide range of participants: from students, amateurs and aficionados to researchers, scientists and entrepreneurs who are recognized as some of the best in their respective fields.

The atmosphere is open, friendly and relaxed, the scope of subjects insanely wide, the average level of knowledge high. The venue is always buzzing with energy, ideas and projects. The New York Times described the 1997 edition as ‘Woodstock for Hackers’. We will gladly honor that legacy.

This year we celebrate the 20th anniversary of this event with a new installment: ‘Hacking at Random’. HAR wants to offer presentations that feature the joy of hacking. That means hardcore hacking and science for its own sake. HAR is soliciting abstracts from anybody who is interested in giving a talk, in doing a workshop or in otherwise presenting their work.

When this series of conferences started twenty years ago, the net was new and unexplored terrain where only the bold dared to tread, and where legislation and regulation were absent. That has changed. Today, virtually every household in the Western world has access and many analogue services are being relocated to the internet, reinventing themselves while doing so, and thereby simultaneously making internet even more of a commodity and an indispensable part of our daily lives. Internet has become ubiquitous, all pervasive, huge and crowded. Because of this, new questions are becoming increasingly important: questions about governance, sustainability, dying analogue media, ownership of data and content, shortage of IP space and energy, censorship, filtering, data trails, data breaches, security, surveillance – to mention but a few.

As the world is more and more defined in terms of the technology of the internet, the once obscure political freedom-fights that hackers were involved in, have truly reached center stage. The next few years are about defending fundamental freedoms, and we better step to it, because nobody is going to do it for us.

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