I say “survival skills”, because it is about learning the fundamentals of communicating securely and privately. In some places in the world, this is a very tangible survival skill – right here, right now. People who don’t master this survival skill… disappear. In several places, it is outright social darwinism: people who master these skills survive, others don’t.
In other parts of the world, it can very quickly become a survival skill. The European Union and the United States alike are going down a path towards similar societies quickly – and Odin knows what will happen on the United States’ impending collapse 5-10 years from now when it runs out of new creditors.
CryptoParties are meetups to share and learn basic cryptographic tools such as PGP/GPG, Tor, OTR, TrueCrypt, etc. At CryptoParty, we teach, learn and share.
These are skills that will never be taught in official curriculums, so they must spread in the underbrush by necessity – just like the skills for sharing culture and knowledge using BitTorrent and similar tools have spread in the underbrush and now have reached 250 million Europeans and 150 million Americans, just like the skills on reflashing your Android phone with Cyanogenmod has spread to over a million in the underbrush.
It is all our duty to support that underbrush. Our own survival depends on other people we can communicate with securely, so it is in our interest that other people, too, know how to communicate without being wiretapped and… disappeared.
This movement has significant similarities to the early PGP keysigning parties, where people would meet to sign each other’s keys to establish a so-called cryptographic trust chain, but those assumed a much higher level of up-front knowledge about cryptography and public-key technology. The cryptoparties are more about learning the necessary skills from a fundamental level.
If you want a cryptoparty in your home town, why don’t you request one and tap into the community?