Vincent Canfield from cock.li comments on his expulsion from the 36C3

In our conversation Vincent Canfield tells us how the violent expulsion from 36C3 happened from his point of view. Vincent is not exactly an undisputed personality, to put it objectively. He tells us how he came up with the idea of founding his e-mail service cock.li. We also learn about Vincent’s political view of the world or how seriously he thinks cock.li should be taken. Of course we also talk to him about the „unpleasant“ moments he unfortunately had to experience at this year’s Chaos Communication Congress (36C3) in Leipzig. The man from the National.Shitposting.Agency (NSA?)had to face some questions in our interview..

Vincent Canfield: a topic about which people elsewhere prefer to remain silent?

No year should end without the annual Chaos Communication Congress (36C3).  Also this year, one headline quickly followed the next. As has been the case for many years, the media have taken up the topics of the Chaos Communication Congress. Whether it’s about hacking in general, data protection or autonomous driving, 5G networks or the final proof that Deutsche Bahn is indeed unpunctual. As every year, everything was reported in detail. Apparently, (almost) nobody wanted to report on just one topic until today: Vincent Canfield, the head of cock.li, has obviously been thrown out of this year’s 36C3 congress in a rather unpleasant way.


Bad news always spreads fast

Vincent Canfield had already written about it in great detail on his blog. Another, not entirely unknown blogger had also reported on the subject. On the website of Hadmut Danisch you can read for example

There’s also the linked website, which claims that the people from the CCC are now acting like the Mafia and carrying their personal beating squads with them, who then beat up people with unwanted opinions on order. and steal people’s mobile phones, which would be a separate IT crime.“ (Hadmut Danisch)

You could even read about „political beating squads“ in this blog entry.

No answer sometimes is also an answer

Vincent Canfield Twitter

Apparently, the CCC is spreading lies

Unfortunately, the CCC has not been prepared to comment on this matter to this day. The first request from our side to the CCC with the request for a statement was rejected quite condescendingly to arrogantly by „erdgeist„.

However, we must also admit a mistake in this context. Namely that we did not give earth spirit time to answer before the article was published. Our request to him or the CCC went out after the article had been online for about three hours. Because of this, erdgeist denied us any competence as journalistically active authors. One did not have to take us seriously at all, if we would behave like this, was the tenor of his answer. Furthermore he would inform the board accordingly.

A second inquiry in which we expressed our mistake remained unanswered until today. But this apparently does not mean that the CCC has been inactive in this matter. Meanwhile you could read on Vincent’s Twitter account that some members are even busy „covering up“ the matter. Vincent believes that the CCC deliberately spread false information about the incident. For us, this was reason enough to ask the only tangible eyewitness what was really going on at the congress.

The interview with the founder of cock.li

cock.li girlTarnkappe.info: Hello Vincent, thank you very much for this interview.

Vincent: Hi :)

Tarnkappe.info: There are too many interviews with you not yet. Why is that? Your service cock.li is actually world famous.

Vincent: I suppose it’s a combination of the fact that cock.li is not really that famous (except in the hacker community). And the website is not exactly the kind that would make an editor faint. Also, I generally avoid this kind of attention. Except like now, when there are people who actively spread disinformation about it.

Tarnkappe.info: How do you actually get the idea to offer such a service?

Vincent: Cock.li actually started on a 4chan thread. Someone there had asked for an e-mail back then. I really thought that there would only be a small group of users. So I didn’t put much work into the project. Despite its continuous growth I still try to work on it as little as possible.

What about humour and understanding?

cock.li Mail-Adressen

cock.li mail addresses

Tarnkappe.info: I mean, some of your domains are really a challenge for people who can’t take a joke. How serious are they? As an outsider, what am I supposed to do with a name like nazi.rocks?

Vincent: If you can imagine why a 12 year old would laugh about these domains, you can understand why I still do so today. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t make fun of them from time to time. Laughter is life!

Tarnkappe.info: While we are talking about friends and understanding. This was not the first CCC congress you attended. Were there any problems in the past? Or rather, have you ever had the feeling that you were not welcome?

Vincent: Last year Michael Hirdes (Dodger), the chairman of the CCC e.V., spent some time insulting me that my website was not funny and he wanted me to close it or change the content there completely. Apart from that, most people seem to love the site, even within the CCC, even among the other organizers („organizing members“) of the event. The best conversations I had there were with people I disagreed with. Although even for most of them it seemed hard to not put a smile on their faces when they heard about the domain names.

About positive memories and problems with the CCC

CCC

Logo from CCC

Tarnkappe.info: We got the impression that the whole thing actually only starts from the leadership of the CCC, so that the „normal“ members have in fact no problem with you. Have there ever been problems with leading CCC members in the past? What is the history of the whole thing? And are you actually an official member of the CCC?

Vincent: I have never been a member of the CCC. But this was now my fourth visit to a congress. Apart from the incident mentioned above, I can only remember positive interactions. Even with people who don’t really „get it“ (cock.li), there were never really any problems.

Tarnkappe.info: How did it come about that you did not react to the desired statements of the CCC? Michael Hirdes apparently already asked you to do so last year.

Vincent: Since Michael wanted me to send him an email about how I took all the fun stuff off my website before I was going to register a meeting this year, I just ignored it. I had never registered a meeting before. I wasn’t planning on doing that this year either. Our group was tracked down by someone from Sea-Watch that I spoke to last year. Our location must have somehow found its way to Michael. When he started spreading the lie at the convention that he had banned me from the entire event, I knew I had to be very clear and started to justify what had happened. If I had been banned, even in a way that violated the CCC’s own organizational structure, I would not have come in the first place.

Goon squads, violence and injuries at CCC congress

Tarnkappe.info: Do you know the people who threw you out personally? What was their motivation or reason for behaving like this? You actually wanted to leave voluntarily, so why this violence?

Vincent: I don’t know anyone who attacked me personally. Later I learned that some of the people are directly connected to the Antifa, while posing as security guards and as part of the CCC crew team. CREW’s position is based on the lie that they are supposedly independent from the organization, but in reality they are clearly very connected.

In the video that was released, you can see me trying to leave the event center. The outside area we were in is surrounded by buildings on either side. I was told to leave within 5 minutes, and when a woman laid her hands on me, I decided that time was up. Instead of being allowed to leave, I was pushed outside again by these antifa thugs and finally forced to the ground.

Antifa as part of the CCC crew?

Vincent: Unlike the actual security staff, these women pushed something into my throat, which restricted my breathing and even my blood circulation, so that my interrupted breathing attempts could be heard for several minutes. It became clear that they were not trying to hold me down but to hurt me. They beat my face into the concrete where my forehead was bruised and my whole face and hands were bloody. They stole my phone to prevent the evidence from getting to the police or the public.

My friend, who no one from CCC had ever spoken to, was kicked in the face several times when they tried to steal his phone as well. He put his phone under his body and even managed to keep it until the police came. If they had been successful, there would be no evidence of what happened. Fortunately, they failed.

Without the evidence video it would look bad!

Tarnkappe.info: In the video it looks partly quite chaotic. So you really got hurt in the course of the argument we see in the video?

Vincent: My face was smashed into the concrete, I was almost suffocated. My right index finger was also severely injured. Also my forehead was bruised for several days. My clothes were also completely ruined by the blood. Even both my shoulders were badly bruised. My friend was even kicked in the face several times and had to have x-rays taken to confirm that no bones were broken. This was not an attempt to hold us down, but a deliberate attack with the intention of causing us pain.

From armed „antifa thugs“ and a political direction

Antifa

Antifa Graffiti

Tarnkappe.info: How neutral should the organizer of a technical congress be? One has the impression that the CCC is becoming more and more political. What is your opinion about this? How do technology and politics fit together? Where should the boundaries be drawn in order not to lose focus?

Vincent: Actually, I don’t mind the politicization of the CCC, and I don’t even mind the idea of being banned because I’m too „exotic“ for them. As I mentioned before, I have always loved talking to people who disagree with my mail service. It was actually always a fun challenge, since it is very unusual outside of Germany to get upset about something like that at all. If they decided to formally ban me, I would be sad about the decline in discourse, but certainly more compassionate, since it is in their right to do so.

My problem is when the CCC e.V. uses security forces, which are actually none, and which are then actually supposed to provide security at the event, trap people and attack them. Surely this cannot be one of their legitimate tasks. CCC probably saves a lot of money if they don’t have to hire real security personnel who understand the concepts of kidnapping and coercion. If the people who are your only helper at the event (CREW is running <help.ccc.de>) are actually armed antifa-violence thugs who just happen to attack people (my friend), then who is taking care of security at this event? The CCL is as confused about this topic as I am.

About political views and recognizable tendencies of the CCC

Gegen Rassismus

against racism

Tarnkappe.info: How do you see the current political direction of the Chaos Computer Club? How has it changed over the last years and in which direction? Where do you see yourself politically?

Vincent: You know, I had a fascinating conversations with a German about the general belief that there is no such thing as „no tendencie“ in Germany. Basically everything is political, no matter what you do. I need to be a bit lenient here, because I am really not the political person that everyone often thinks I am. Even if this means that I have taken sides in some things where I might otherwise have responded with a little more time to think about it.

The few things I am sure about, is obviously the concern from freedom of expression and rights on the Internet. These could be regarded as generally libertarian positions. Although I am not sure that I would describe myself as a liberal.

Politicization in cyberspace? Politicization of the CCC?

Vincent: The politicization of the CCC has certainly become clearer in recent years, apparently in an attempt to see what they can get away with. This is an interesting experiment, and if I were not forced into the center of this politicization, I would be fascinated to observe it from a distance. Now that I have been attacked by the convention organizers, I welcome the opportunity to tell more of the dark side of the convention, things apparently many other people don’t want to know about.

Tarnkappe.info: What is your general opinion about the increasing politicization in cyberspace? Do you think that the attempt to enforce political correctness on the Internet is widely accepted by society or is it a marginal phenomenon of left (extreme) left-wing groups?

Vincent: I believe the politicization in cyberspace is happening in very specific bubbles. I see a lot of overlap with „PC obsession“ and left-wing politics, but the overlap is not complete. The other areas I have seen mainly concern people who don’t want to say the wrong thing to jeopardize their careers. Outside of these bubbles it hardly seems to exist. I’m not sure what the general feeling is in Germany, but here in Romania nobody cares.

Banned from the CCC or just unwanted?

Tarnkappe.info: Are you now banned forever from attending CCC congresses? Did you at least get your entrance fee for the congress refunded? The organizer has the right, legally speaking, to ban any participant from the congress. Are you primarily concerned about the way the whole thing went or about the expulsion in general?

Vincent: I’m not sure I’m really banned from the event forever. But I would say that this year the matter is also much more delicate than last year when I was clearly not banned. I haven’t had a refund of my entrance fee yet. My ID was confiscated when I was escorted by the police through the convention centre to get my backpack.

If the CCC wants to ban me from the event, that’s fine. But the way I and my friend were attacked still leaves a lot of work and many questions unanswered. I am highly motivated by their assault.

And how do you want to proceed now Vincent?

Tarnkappe.info: How does it go on now? Do you still have contact to the club? Do you think you can settle this internally by talking to each other, or is the whole thing now going to a legal way with a lawyer etc.?

Vincent: So far there was no direct contact with anyone from the CCC e.V.. But after this event they started a disinformation campaign of impressive scale through their organising team members and their volunteer helpers. Since I don’t have an army of subordinates to answer with, I mostly did the disinfo myself. Fortunately, many people seem to realize their mistake when they realize that they were misled and lied to by the CCC organizers.

Apart from that, there are currently several ongoing criminal cases that are being handled by my lawyer. All civil law courses remain on the table.

Tarnkappe.info: Thank you very much for this interview, Vincent. In any case, we’re keeping our fingers crossed for you and hope that everything can be clarified as quickly and hopefully without complications.

Vincent: No problem, I have you to thank :)

If the CCC or even Michael Hirdes himself will ever say anything about it remains to be seen. I can only repeat once again what should be self-evident even in our time:

We need a statement from the CCC!

CCC bekennt sich als links Orientiert

CCC confesses: we are left oriented

It would be a real shame if such a great event as the Chaos Communication Congress in Leipzig were to end under such a „bad light“. A story always has two sides. And one should always hear both sides before forming a judgment. Violence at the congress or even the accusation that the CCC employs political thugs cannot be in the sense of an otherwise peaceful association like the Chaos Computer Club. Let’s hope it all gets sorted out soon.“ (Sunny)

With this in mind, we would like to invite the Executive Committee from the CCC or the persons responsible for the Congress at the CCC once again and ask them to make a statement on the incidents. We would of course publish these in full.

Tarnkappe.info

Picture, Vincent Canfield, thx!

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