[hackerspaces] DARPA Sponsored Hacker Space Assessment

Matt Joyce matt at nycresistor.com
Tue Dec 6 19:26:48 CET 2011

>From much earlier three threads ago when this all got started:

I work for a .gov that does open source dev.  TOR was originally a US Navy
funded project.  OpenBSD was at one point almost sorta maybe DARPA funded.

There is a long history of military in Open Source.  In fact what we know
today to be POSIX is really just the natural evolution of DOD standards on
Berkeley BSD.

Go figure.


On Tue, Nov 29, 2011 at 6:40 PM, Matt Joyce <matt at nycresistor.com> wrote:
I'd like to point out that the US is still even in it's reduced capacity
putting far more effort into grander ideals such as space exploration than
most other nations.  And while you may not equate landing a rover on mars
with "the military", I can assure you that any form of space exploration
has very definite military applications.  Anything you do in the open
source or public domain in that field can be taken and reused with minimal
effort by others for nefarious purpose.

So, I don't really see the distinction sometimes between "military
application" and any other application.  Kind of an extension of guns don't
kill people.  People do.

"I just put the rockets in the air, I don't care where they come down..."
- Maybe a von braun quote.

You can't promote open source development while at the same time pretending
that your work can't be co-opted to do things you did not intend it to do.
Possibly things you do not like.  That would be akin to Von Braun telling
himself... he just builds rockets to put stuff in the air.  If someone else
decides to land them in downtown london packed full of C4... well that's on
them.  If you hate that...  well shit you and the unibomber have something
in common, have you read his manifesto?  Fun read.

This ties into the question... "Is knowledge always a good thing".  I think
most of us here, would say that the potential for knowledge is always going
to be varied.  But I have general faith in my fellow man so I believe that
most folks when handed some new knowledge will try to think of something
awesome to do with it, rather than... hrmmm... maybe I can use this to
destroy puppies.  So I invoke "You can't stop the signal Mal" level 9001.

Now yes, some of what DARPA funds is designed specifically to make killing
people easier and more efficient.  Sometimes the by-product of that is,
less collateral damage.  Sometimes, it's a greater level of belligerence in
foreign policy.  Sometimes it's an unpredictable hellish dystopian future.
I am not saying it's okay to support that.  I am not saying that you should
ignore that.

The reality is, DARPA funds research it is interested in.  If you are
interested in it too, and would do it in open source anyways... then I
don't see the issue with making that knowledge available to them.  If they
are willing to fund your research, then yeah, you have to weigh what the
consequences of that are.  That is responsible.  You obviously want to keep
true to your own goals and not become a slave to someone elses.   But, if
the goals line up... why not?

Stopping bullets.  Reducing the damage IEDs cause.  Building a better mine
remover.  Any number of emergency medical response / disaster response
technologies.  Food preservatives.... etc etc.  These are research areas
that could SAVE lives.  Space exploration relies on technology that allows
us to put mass into orbit, and mass in orbit alone can be used as a
terrifying weapon... that's ignoring the strategic applications of an
ICBM.  Does that mean that anyone who works in the field of exploring our
universe is some sort of puppy hating monster?  Hell most of them work with
the US gov, and most of their work is reviewed and passed on to defense
industries for a myriad of reasons.

Is something as wonderful as the Hubble or the MSL some sort of taboo
technology now?  I say nay.

And I want to remind you.  DARPA isn't in the business of killing people.
It's in the business of engineering peace where there is none.  War and
chaos do not achieve the objectives of DARPA or the US military.  Their
goal is to END conflict.  They don't start it.  They get tasked to "end it"
usually on favorable terms.  You want to equate defense work with "murder"
I'd point the finger at the ambassadors, senators, and other political
entities that allow war to happen.  Some of them will own that
responsibility and some of them will shirk it.  But to place blame on DARPA
for it is somewhat absurd.

Just some thoughts.

      - Matt

On Tue, Dec 6, 2011 at 10:10 AM, Will Bradley <bradley.will at gmail.com>wrote:

> Active Project #2 on DARPA's Wikipedia page, ArcLight. "Its goal is to
> equip Aegis cruisers with a weapon system that is capable of striking
> targets nearly anywhere on the globe, thereby increasing the power of
> surface ships to a level comparable to that of ballistic missile-equipped
> submarines."
> No offense, but which Kool-Aid did you drink, Matt? Technological
> superiority of our military means exactly that.
> On Dec 6, 2011 10:57 AM, "Matt Joyce" <matt at nycresistor.com> wrote:
>> Via DARPA.mil :
>>  DARPA’s mission is to maintain the technological superiority of the
>> U.S. military and prevent technological surprise from harming our national
>> security by sponsoring revolutionary, high-payoff research bridging the gap
>> between fundamental discoveries and their military use.
>> Over the years, DARPA has worked to enhance our national security by
>> funding research and technology development that not only have improved our
>> military capabilities but have changed the way we live. Since the very
>> beginning, DARPA has been the place for people with innovative ideas that
>> lead to groundbreaking discoveries.
>> Their mission does not extend to intelligence gathering, police keeping,
>> or any form of ... kinetic warfare.
>> That's not what DARPA does.
>> -Matt
>> On Tue, Dec 6, 2011 at 9:47 AM, Mars <itcamefrommars at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> This is reminiscent of the time I brought up the valid points of
>>> creative design at a skeptical inquirer meeting.  Haha... jk
>>> Actually- was this thread in itself an assessment?  Like a dream inside
>>> a dream...
>>> sram|mars
>>> Btw take these comments as lighthearted and silly- not trying to help
>>> ignite a can of thermite
>>> Sent from my iPhone
>>> On Dec 6, 2011, at 11:37 AM, Thorsten Haas <chaos at skytee.de> wrote:
>>> > Am 06.12.2011 16:44, schrieb Jesse Krembs:
>>> >> Would the hacker space that you are a member of participate in a
>>> >> assessment of your hacker space if it was sponsored by DARPA?
>>> >
>>> > Cui bono?
>>> >
>>> > In what way would that be helpful to a hackerspace?
>>> >
>>> >> DARPA would be the sole receiver of this the information collected
>>> >> during the assessment. It would not be shared with the general public
>>> >> or the participating hacker spaces.
>>> >
>>> > I find it rather creepy to rather share such information with
>>> government
>>> > entities than the general public or other hacker spaces.
>>> > _______________________________________________
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