Telecomix: DIY Drones for Peace – Virtual Reporting

This past Saturday at the Salon des Solidarités in Paris, a meeting of ‘Hackers and NGOs‘ took place. There, between a Médecin du Monde stand and a stall selling fair trade jewellery, attendees gathered around a strange humming machine. A miniature drone, straight from Brittany in north-west France, where a handful of members of the hacktivist collective Telecomix have been hard at work on its development. But this particular drone has not been designed to roam in the clear French skies, but rather to assist Syrians in their fight against Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorship.

The initiative was launched by KheOps, a nickname behind which a young man with long blond hair operates. KheOps had been shocked this winter by the deaths of the journalists Marie Colvin and Rémi Ochlik.

It’s better to lose a drone than a journalist.

In the do-ocracatic realm so dear to hackers, intentions are of little significance; only concrete actions count. So for the past several weeks KheOps, aided by other self-described Telecomix “agents”, has set out to construct a customised surveillance machine.