The +re:publica in Berlin:  A flash in the pan
Attending   #mcb14 #rp14 - Re:publica - what a surprise much flash... 
David Hasselhoff 3 at this year's Re-publica conference makes the headline for BZ a  Boulevard (tabloid) newspaper from the Springer Verlag (Breitenbach, Lukas (May 7, 2014). "Ich google mich jeden Tag selbst”. BZ, p. 10). 

Of course, the journalist forgot to ask why he came to the conference. He was F-Secure’s Goodwill Ambassador (i.e. paid for to attend and speak at the conference by F-Secure - an exhibitor - the cloud. I got this information whilst chatting with Mikko Hypponen from F-Secure. We are both from the older generation and have known each other since 1994 from the EICAR conferences.

But David Hasselhoff’s attendance indicated the whole malaise of the conference - finding a middle ground between commercial success, substance and discussion.
But how anybody could believe that he can teach us much about how to protect our rights or privacy remainst a mystery for me. Honest!  But he is a great headliner apparently....
PS. what does this say about the quality of the conference?

This year the conference is focusing a lot on Snowden’s revelations about the NSA - pseudonymity versus anonymity in the net, privacy, user rights and so forth. 
Amazing, these issues the ACM or EICAR conferences covered already in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002. But then, social media and internet users tend to live in a bubble maybe?
All important issues. However, if one asks people to choose between security, safety versus freedom they often choose (national) security and safety over privacy and personal freedom / rights. 
What the conference is missing is a discussion about how to find a balance between net neutrality, privacy, user rights, security and what society needs.

At the same time, the media (i.e. journalists) writing about the conference raise some interesting issues. For instance, on the opinion page of Der Tagesspiegel Tretbar Christian (May 8, 2014, Die Messe ist noch nicht gelesen, Der Tagesspiegel, p. 8) wrote “der heimliche Bundespräsident der Szene, Blogger Sascha Lobo, … seine Gemeinde auf, das Netz für sich zurückzuerobern.” (the secret blogger president Sacha Lobo… invited his community, to take back the net).

Again, Sascha Lobo is a bit late. Moreover, if that kind of talk is a barometer of the substance and depth of the speakers we get at Re:publica, we should stay home and continue to navel gaze but not waste people’s time as Hasselhoff and Lobo both did. 

Flash matters at Re:publica 2014, substance far less. The latter is more of an afterthought. But it is working, because the media writes about the unimportant sessions and thus spreads the word such as “Europe’s most important conference for the Internet community….”  Better maybe to write Germany's best known Internet conference .... but Europe's ???

If it is, so be it. Some hindsight we got, very little insight and even less foresight/forecasting at least so far Or as the old lady says: Where is the beef?  
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