3rd Workshop on obfuscation

May 4 & 7, 2021

An online gathering
Organized by TU Delft and Cornell Tech

Welcome! The 3rd Workshop on Obfuscation took place online on May 7, 2021, a full day of online talks and gatherings. 
The aim of the workshop was to convene participants around the concept and practice of obfuscation in digital societies. We welcomed researchers, scientists, policy makers, public-interest developers and coders, journalists, activists, artists and other interested parties to discuss obfuscation in environments and conditions of asymmetrical power and information. The workshop opened with a vernissage on May 4, 2021, where we welcomed all participants and released artworks and media from invited speakers. 

The 3rd Workshop on Obfuscation had been originally planned to take place in the Spring of 2020 in Delft, the Netherlands. We were in full force preparing the workshop, when COVID-19 was recognized by the World Health Organization as a pandemic. With these disconcerting developments in the back of our minds, we reconsidered whether it would remain relevant to do a Workshop on Obfuscation, and, if so, how we should go about it. We were aware that there was no such thing as "simply moving the event online". We were especially concerned how such a seamless translation would impact the many questions at stake in organizing a workshop on forms of resistance towards ever powerful technology companies and infrastructures. Hence, we took the time and budget we had to explore ways to create an engaging and productive online gathering. Among other efforts, we aimed to organize all gatherings associated with the workshop to take place using free and open source tools provided by TU Delft and a platframe designed and developed by Hackers and Designers.  You can read more about the motivation to take the 3rd Workshop on Obfuscation online and the choices and decisions involved in the process here

Lastly, check out A Catalog of Formats for Digital Discomfort. Compiled by researcher and cultural mediator Jara Rocha, it provides insights into the vectors of thinking that went into organizing the Workshop on Obfuscation as an online gathering.


Report of the 2nd Workshop on obfuscation (WO 2017)

The Workshop Report from the 2nd Workshop on Obfuscation, available as individual articles on this website as well as in a printer-friendly PDF.  Whether you were able to attend or couldn't make it, we hope this report will provide further resources towards developing obfuscation both as a theory and praxis.

We have asked our panelists to each provide a brief essay summarizing their project, concept, application—with an emphasis on the questions, challenges, and discussions raised during the weekend. As with the workshop itself, this report is a starting point rather than an end point.


Sponsored by:

Organizing committee:

Ero Balsa (Cornell Tech)
Seda Gürses (TU Delft)
Helen Nissenbaum (Cornell Tech)
Jara Rocha (Independent researcher)