About us: Gabor Szathmari

Gabor is the president of CryptoAUSTRALIA. He is a passionate privacy, open government and free speech advocate. He is helping organisations with their information security challenges in his professional life.

CA: Can you tell us a little about your background?
I have a Masters in Electrical Engineering where I learned computer programming and hardware engineering. I got intrigued by the security aspects of computer networking early during my studies and decided to specialise in this field. Today I am a reputable information security professional with a career spanning over a decade.

CA: You founded CryptoAUSTRALIA at the beginning of the year? What inspired or motivated you?
My profession is also my passion. I attended my first CryptoParty in Belfast in 2015. I was captivated by the small but very enthusiastic community, so when I moved to Sydney, I started to look for similar events. I found the Australian scene to be waning, so I decided to get behind and try to reinvigorate it.

I organised over 15 events during 2016 which made me realise that there is need and demand for such functions. I am grateful for having the chance of meeting with smart and talented people from the community. Some of us were thinking along the same line, which is bringing these hands-on privacy workshops to the greater Australian society. Thus, I founded CryptoAUSTRALIA to help the local community with their privacy and security challenges.

Gabor Szathmari

I am very proud of having such a fantastic team working beside me. The skills we developed and the wealth of knowledge we gained by running the events are both invaluable. This is the magic sauce that helps us understand the privacy challenges of the various communities and the ways we can solve them.

CA: What is the mission of CryptoAUSTRALIA?
CryptoAUSTRALIA is a not for profit organisation whose vision is a society where everyone in Australia has the necessary skills to defend their privacy.

Our mission is to inform and educate ordinary citizens and professionals on privacy and information security. Our goal is to develop, engage, and grow a community that is concerned with privacy matters.

Overall my main goal is to fulfil CryptoAUSTRALIA’s mission and reach all corners of Australia for a more open and free society.

CA: Are you also involved in other privacy organisations or projects?
Yes, I started Privacy for Journalists in June 2016 on the back of a tailored cryptoparty for journalists. The event was organised in conjunction with The Walkley Foundation. I have now brought this site under the umbrella of CryptoAUSTRALIA, although it remains a distinct project aimed specifically for journalists.

I also run a similar project for everyday Australians. As a result of Internet censorship, we built UnblockOz that helps the general public to reclaim their unfiltered access to the Internet. UnblockOz has featured on the front page of Hacker News earlier this year, which I am particularly proud of.

Gabor Szathmari

CA: What are your goals for the organisation in 2017?
We are actively listening to the needs of our audience and will be bringing new types of events to our Sydney meetups. Empowered by the success of last year’s metadata detective game Snitch Hunt, we’re working on new initiatives with the local hacker community. Stay tuned!

Another exciting project we are working on is an event for the OAIC Privacy Awareness Week in May. It is a series of events that promotes and raises awareness of privacy issues and the importance of protecting personal information. Our upcoming event includes the screening of a documentary film followed by a panel discussion with prominent personalities from local privacy communities and not for profit organisations.

CA: What was the most uplifting thing that happened to you recently?
My best moment from last year is when we got thirty-odd people in a room to build Tor relays together. Tor is an anonymity network used by people from all walks of life, such as journalists, human rights activists and whistleblowers. By the end of the workshop, thirteen brand new servers were supporting the Tor network in Australia. The more relays are running, the faster the Tor network is.

This is the first of a series of articles introducing the members of CryptoAUSTRALIA

Peter Borbely is a technically skilled, content oriented and commercially astute digital media professional with over a decade experience across both the commercial and editorial floors