[hackerspaces] DARPA Sponsored Hacker Space Assessment

Charlie X Wallace charlie at finitemonkeys.com
Tue Dec 6 19:37:40 CET 2011

We’ve had the FBI at our space, homeland security and the weapons of mass destruction department.

It was no big deal, really..

From: Matt Joyce 
Sent: Tuesday, December 06, 2011 9:21 AM
To: Hackerspaces General Discussion List 
Subject: Re: [hackerspaces] DARPA Sponsored Hacker Space Assessment

I figure that DARPA would be no different than any other person.  Most spaces are open.  They have open houses and open events and they would likely be invited in the same as anyone else.  That's kind of the point of the more public spaces.  I doubt even the private ones would care that much about who attends their open events.

So I do not see how many would have a real moral quandary here.  If the space is open, it's open to DARPA visiting.  Also, It's good PR.  DARPA isn't the fire inspector or the FBI... they are not going to come arrest you.  But, reaching out to an entity like DARPA and being open about who you are and what you do demonstrates that you "have nothing to hide".  And while we all value privacy on an individual scale, and I am a proponent of that...  Letting someone like DARPA know you exist and being friendly with them may be useful down the line when the Byron Sonne of your hacker space ends up being arrested for possession of instruments of DIY hobbies.

I get it that some of you guys are super paranoid.  And I am aware that sometimes courting attention is not wise.  DARPA isn't going to care if you have an unmarked bottle of ferric chloride sitting next to a bottle of whiskey.  Or an open flame in the center of your floor that you are driving RC cars through.

But, down the line if some sort of PR disaster befalls you because of someone who would care about these things...  It might be nice to be able to say "we not only have not been involved with anything nefarious we've been open about everything we do.  Even DARPA has been invited in and shown what's up."

More to the point...  DARPA has a lot of capacity for making recommendations for education entities.  In fact NSF partners heavily with DARPA.  DARPA also does a good deal to ensure that the next generation is as smart as can be... it's in their interest to do so.  If hackerspace design patterns make people smarter... they will want to try to make that approach ( pedagogy ) more available.  In short they may end up being a huge fan.

Law of unintended consequences swings both ways.


On Tue, Dec 6, 2011 at 7:44 AM, Jesse Krembs <jessekrembs at gmail.com> wrote:

  Dear All

  In light of the recent discussion ("will the fruits of our labors be
  used for, good or for evil?") I figure it would be time to ask a
  question I have been pondering for some time.

  Would the hacker space that you are a member of participate in a
  assessment of your hacker space if it was sponsored by DARPA?

  Additional information to consider:
  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.
  The assessment would be of an open nature. With all the information
  provided by the hacker space being assessed as they feel fit.
  The requested information would be broad (state of financing, number
  of members, project, interests, tools, aspirations, history, etc) but
  not particularly specific.
  For example:
  How many members and what the sociological breakdown is.

  There would of course be some very specific questions but not
  particularly intrusive I think. Name, address, contact info.

  The idea is that the assessment would be in person by the DARPA
  sponsored individual, with the assessor taking pictures of the space,
  making floor plan maps, inventory of major equipment (we have a
  lathe!). I think this is a good opportunity as well to provide a
  narrative history of the space and other relevant topics.

  Feel free to answer me on or off list. I'm not interested in launching
  a big discussion football BTW, just trying to get a sense of what the
  community at large thinks. The work/life change required to perform
  this work is quite massive and figuring out some fact before hand
  would be key.

  Thank you.

  Jesse Krembs
  Discuss mailing list
  Discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org

Discuss mailing list
Discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.hackerspaces.org/pipermail/discuss/attachments/20111206/50c689c5/attachment.html>

More information about the Discuss mailing list