Some highlights from the New Hampshire Liberty Forum this weekend:
Learning about startpage.com, a search site which is actually a front end to Google that keeps you anonymous. Unlike DuckDuckGo, which also promises privacy, it doesn’t censor your search results.
A session on asset forfeiture. Cops can take your property if there’s a preponderance of evidence that it was used in the commission of a crime, and they get to keep most of what was seized. There doesn’t have to be any evidence you were involved in the crime. There’s a bill before the New Hampshire legislature to abolish it.
A session on how to deal with law enforcement, with Ken White (of Popehat) and two other lawyers. This had lots of valuable information; condensed into one sentence, it would be “don’t say anything.” You do, however, have to say that you’re not saying anything, due to a whacky Supreme Court ruling; and if you’re stopped while operating a motor vehicle, there are certain questions you have to answer. Lecturing cops is within your First Amendment rights but risky.
Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that was a double-length session, and I wanted to go to the one on open source software, so I left early. That one was good too, but in retrospect I might have learned more by staying at the first one. It let me run into a group called Software Engineers for Liberty, so that session could have long-term benefits.
Kate Baker’s presentation on school choice made some very good points, but I found her personal style impossible to take; she seemed to be saying how awesome she was and how dumb everyone else was with every sentence. I just couldn’t get past that and left early.
The session on press freedom and encryption was very informative. According to Trevor Timm, the federal government doesn’t need to subpoena reporters and fight a court battle to get their sources any more, because it can just intercept the information they send. There are technologies to fight this with end-to-end encryption. These include an operating system called Tails, normally run from a removable drive, which enforces secure communication, and a dropbox package called SecureDrop which doesn’t rely on a third party’s website.
Going to a convention where I know hardly anyone is always a bit difficult for me, but I met some interesting people and hopefully will be in touch with some of them again. This was a good convention, and frankly a relief from the growing hegemony of left-wing politics that I’m seeing at science fiction conventions.