Brussels / 2 & 3 February 2019


Who needs to know? Private-by-design collaboration

It is often difficult to untangle technical choices made when designing systems from the values and implicit assumptions of its those systems' designers.

For many developers of open-source software, radical openness and permissionless participation have become the de facto methodology to follow when designing collaboration systems. This ideology has driven the creation of a wealth of information systems and collaboratively curated data sets which could not have been created in a top-down fashion. Consequently, different values, and thus different architectures have remained largely unexplored.

This lecture will present CryptPad, a web-based suite of collaborative tools which employs client-side encryption to restrict access to those who possess the cryptographic keys which are unique to each document. I will include an overview of the underlying architecture, and provide insight into its design process and the values that it encodes.


Photo of Aaron MacSween Aaron MacSween