ThingsCon Log (25 Sep 2017)

New report: A Trustmark for IoT // Events in Berlin, Amsterdam, Antwerp A TRUSTMARK FOR THE INTERNET OF THINGS

For Mozilla, we explored the potentials and challenges of a trustmark for the Internet of Things (IoT). That research is now publicly available. We are convinced a trustmark is an important step for our future living with connected products.

Learn more on our website or download the full report (PDF).

We're excited to see this report finding its way through many organizations and into all the right conversations. 🙏


We have a bunch of ThingsCon events coming up!

In chronological order:

  • ThingsCon Salon Berlin (28 Sept) with Lisa Gutermuth of Ranking Digital Rights and Ame Elliott of SimplySecure. And also with a brand new, super nice location at the new Mozilla Berlin HQ. We'll also have a stack of fresh-from-the-printer copies of the beautiful and excellent DING magazine for you, for free! DING is Mozilla Open IoT Studio's new print magazine about the Internet of Things, and it features some small ThingsCon contributions as well. Get your free ticket here.
  • ThingsCon Salon Amsterdam (4 Oct) explores the theme "Intimate Technology". Curated by Iskander Smit and Frank Kresin, speakers include Viola van Alphen (Stichting Art & Technology, Manifestations), Jan van Erp, Angelika Mader and Jamy Li (Human-Media Interaction group, University of Twente), Nicolai Liberati (postdoc researcher), Lancel/Maat (Artist duo), researchers Karen Lancel and Hermen Maat, Edwin Dertien (Assistant Professor and creative roboticist) and Peter-Paul Verbeek (Department of Philosophy and DesignLab, University of Twente). In other words, a full house! Sign up here.
  • ThingsCon Saloon Antwerp: Comedy Special (24 Oct). Held at Antwerp's venerable Lebowski's Comedy Club, this world-premier ThingsCon comedy special is subtitled "Poking fun at design practice anno 2017. Because laughing at yourself opens up a whole new world of ideas." What's not to love? Secure your ticket here.

ThingsCon Amsterdam: The annual conference

Save the date: The annual ThingsCon Amsterdam conference will happen 30 November and 1 December. With two full days of workshops and presentations, this will be our biggest event to date. Already confirmed speakers include a star line-up including Alexandra Deschamp-Sonsino, Martijn de Waal, Nazli Cila, Dries De Roeck, Jet Gispen, Kars Alfrink, Peter Kún, Ugo Vallauri and Iohanna Nicenboim, with many more to come.

Please note that there is a special ThingsCon Fan Ticket which comes with a limited edition t-shirt just for this event, and hence bragging rights! (It even happens to be extra discounted, so what are you waiting for?) Sign up today!)

Keep an eye on for details.

We're on a mission to increase the footprint of the ThingsCon community, including 5 in the global South. Learn more about how it works and get in touch to start your local chapter, right now!


FixFext 2017: Our friends at The Restart Project are organizing FIXFEST, a global gathering for community repair. It should be absolutely lovely. Learn more.

Underexposed: Our friends at SimplySecure bring their conference Underexposed to Berlin this fall. The theme this year: Deep Forgetting: Designing for Privacy in a World of Machine Learning. The preliminary program looks ace, with lots of friendly faces, allies and collaborators (including our very own Peter Bihr).

ThingClash: Our good friends and long-time collaborators at Changeist are winding down their ThingClash project. A huge thank you for ThingClash! Their work was priceless and incredibly inspirational. We can't wait to see what comes next! Learn more here.


What Comes After User-Friendly Design? It's time to move from "user-friendly" to trustworthy. Ame Elliott of SimplySecure is heavily quoted here. You should also come see her at this week's ThingsCon Salon Berlin!

IoT Botnet Retooled to Send Email Spam. It won't be the last one.

The ‘internet of things’ is sending us back to the Middle Ages. We like ourselves a good provocative rant, and this one by Joshua A.T. Fairfield, Professor of Law, Washington and Lee University, does not disappoint.

AI Research is in Desperate Need of An Ethical Watchdog. The lines between IoT and #AI are getting more and more blurry as algorithmic decision-making takes a more and more central role in IoT.

Acceleration, redefined: Introducing the R/GA Venture Studio. What ThingsCon alumn of the first hour, Matt Webb, has been up to.

Stadtwerke tauschen alle Stromzähler in der Stadt aus | Nachrichten aus Velbert, der Schloss-Stadt im Bergischen Land. Remember the name "EDL21". They might come up a lot in the future as examples of awkward smart home additions. Turns out that these new smart meters in Germany only output information about a users electricity consumption to their users on a built-in display, which is locked with a PIN number. To unlock the display, the user needs to "morse" the PIN with a flashlight. That's right: With a flashlight. There's no app, no API—no nothing!—for tech savvy users to make their data work for themselves. It's just a box in a dank basement and a flashlight.

The Human Tech Report

We also have our own (second) newsletter: Our global community of experts keeps an eye out for responsible tech so you can have a quick-to-scan overview of what's noteworthy, smoothly delivered to your inbox once a month. To follow along, sign up now, and if you know of initiatives that should be included, please reach out to Max!


Are you on Slack? Drop us a line with your email address and we'll be happy to see you in the ThingsCon backchannel on Slack ( And if you have community news (events, projects you're working on, resources you'd like to share, etc.) send them our way. And as always, for any news follow us on Twitter!

Have a fantastic week!

On behalf of the whole ThingsCon team,

Your scribe Peter

PS. Think a friend or colleague would enjoy this newsletter? Feel free to pass it on! 🙏