Beef Jerky, Hoverboards and Hackers

By Misch Pautsch Switch to German for original article

How do you reach a group of hackers? By mail, apparently. They respond - unsurprisingly - quickly. Or by visiting the officially reported headquarters of their asbl in Luxembourg City: The "Chaosstuff". This all doesn't sound as suspicious as the word "hacker" might suggest. A conversation with hobbyists.

The name Chaos Computer Club is mostly mentioned in the media when something goes wrong. In Luxembourg, this was recently the case when the data leak on the new website for online petitions was discussed. But also the Chamber leak affair in 2018 and in Germany the leak on the CDU's election campaign app in May 2021, both of which ended in – now withdrawn – legal action drew the attention of the CCC. In both cases, the Luxembourg and German Chaos Computer Clubs have each strongly criticized the legal action taken against the whistleblowers and have argued that those responsible for the sites should also take their responsibilities, rather than shooting the messengers.

"These moments are probably the ones most people know us for", confirms Dennis Fink of Computer Club Luxembourg (C3L): "And it's certainly a big part of our work, possibly the most important, to educate people about technology, digitization, copyright, and privacy." However, when a group's name almost always comes up only in the context of negative news, that bitter taste sometimes risks rubbing off on those involved. It doesn't help that the term "hacker" is culturally loaded: There's something mischievous to thoroughly criminal attached to it, depending on the context."

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