[hackerspaces] DARPA Sponsored Hacker Space Assessment

Phillip Rhodes motley.crue.fan at gmail.com
Tue Dec 6 19:37:20 CET 2011

On Tue, Dec 6, 2011 at 1:25 PM, Justis Peters <justis.peters at gmail.com> wrote:
> AFAICT, DARPA has been reaching out to hackerspaces and to individuals in
> hackerspaces. In earlier threads, when I asked why the question of a DARPA
> grant was even relevant to a hackerspace, I was told that some hackerspaces
> had already been approached and were debating it.

Aaaah, OK.

> In a related "coincidence", an acquaintance that I like contacted me to ask
> if SplatSpace would be willing to entertain a sales pitch from a friend of
> his who works for DARPA in their "Cyber Fast Track" program:
> http://cft.usma.edu/
> From what I have learned so far, they do not provide grants to hackerspaces;
> they provide grants to individual projects and to the individuals
> participating in those projects. That's all I know so far.

Well, if a SplatSpace member showed up and said "Hey guys, guess what, my new
project is being funded by DARPA," I don't think that would constitute a reason
to say "No, get out" or anything.  But I'd be very wary of the
implications of such
a thing, and I'd certainly warn them to be very, very cautious about
what terms they
agreed to, etc.   But ultimately, individuals have to make their own
choices.  That said, I'd
be very saddened by the idea of hackers working for DARPA or other
government agencies.  :-(

> My current plan is to remain loyal to my ideology about open innovation and
> inclusion. I had previously assumed that DARPA would be against the "open
> innovation" part, but I see that they do sometimes sponsor research that is
> shared globally. I am dubious about whether they can "get it" about the
> inclusion part. That said, treating DARPA as "us" instead of as "them" would
> be to practice what I preach. If I want "them" to stop treating everyone
> else as "them", then I have to start treating "them" as "us".

I make no bones about the fact that I do, indeed, see DARPA as "them."
 Not to say
that there aren't good people in DARPA.  I'm sure there are.  But I
believe that DARPA
- as an agency- represents something that I don't believe in, and
consider antithetical
to the notion of individual freedom: big, oppressive, militarized,
corrupt nation-states
that exercise more power over "We The People" than a government justly should.

As long as that remains the case, I have to push against cooperating
with the DARPAs
of the world in order to practice what I preach.  OK, cooperating with
them on a strategic
basis, where you're sure you're gaining as much as - or more than -
you give?  I could
almost grudgingly allow that that might be a smart thing to do.  But
I'm reminded of the
old saw about "when you roll with pigs, you come out covered in %!#%."

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