A couple of weeks ago I was invited to speak at Datengarten, the Chaos Computer Club Berlin’s (CCCB) monthly meet up. I decided to talk about technology in international development; partly because it’s a topic I feel comfortable with, but also because the narrative and general conversation among the development sector is a world away from what I imagine CCCB to be talking about.

One of the biggest issues I’ve come across with those working in international development, or ICT4D, is low levels of technical literacy. People are keen to tout the benefits of technology, but they have little training or critical perspectives on the potential consequences around security, data (mis)management, and more. The audience I was talking with at CCCB are, in a way, the polar opposite of this - all very, very technically literate, but potentially with not as much exposure to people in vulnerable situations, for whom technology could have big benefits.

The video of my talk is below, along with the slides I used. It’s also the first public talk I’ve done in German, which was a nice milestone to reach - especially as it happened to be on my 4 year anniversary of arriving in Berlin! It was great to have such a friendly audience for the talk, and some interesting questions afterwards, too.

I came across a few interesting new words for the talk, too: for posterity (and my own memory) I’ve listed them here:

  • machtungleichgewichte = power imbalances
  • gefährdete Bevölkerungsgruppen = vulnerable communities
  • zustimmung = consent
  • wertvorstellungen = value systems
  • Iriserkennung = iris scans
  • Fingerabdrücke = fingerprints
  • Datenschutzrecht = data protection
  • Recht auf Privatsphäre = the right to privacy
  • Ferngesteuerte verhütungs-implantate = contraceptive implants
  • zweckentfremdung = misappropriation
  • Verantwortlicher Umgang mit Daten = responsible use of data
  • Datensparsamkeit = ‘economical’ use of data (or, data minimisation)
  • Datenvermeidung = avoidance of storing data (these two terms go together in German in a more elegant way than these English explanations - here is the Wikipedia explanation)

And here are the slides I used (where relevant, there are links to follow, too)

Thanks so much to Fiona and the rest of CCCB for the invitation - I’m looking forward to learning more from the CCC community at the upcoming Camp!