Interview: Chris van ‘t Hof – TekTok

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28 November, 2014

Chris van ‘t Hof is the host, organizer and founder of TekTok. Last November 4th, Bart Schermer (partner at Considerati) was a guest speaker at TekTok late night. Bart shared his point of view on a new privacy consumer research. Questions like “How many sacrifices are consumers willing to make for their privacy?” and “What do consumer expect when they provide personal data?” were througughly discussed, not only by the speakers at the event, but also the audience present. Chris van ’t Hof illustrates the public opinion of the public of The Hague in an amusing way and Considerati supports him in these efforts.

We have interviewed Chris to gain a bit more insight in his background, efforts, and goals.

Could you briefly explain what TekTok late night is?

TekTok late night is a talk show on the topic of information technology. We combine serious topics with a dose of rock and roll, both live and online. Different associated partners finance every show.

What inspired you to start TekTok late night?

Several years ago, I visited a lot of conferences as a researcher. I got tired of those boring conference halls and speakers that rush through their boring PowerPoint presentations within the allowed 45 minutes. I felt there was room for improvement! TekTok allows organizations to reach a new audience both through the live show and the online broadcast.

How did you come up with the name ‘TekTok’?

Let’s call it a creative epiphany! Somewhere in the unconscious mind “technology talks” and “TED talks” mixed up in my brain and that resulted in the name “TekTok”. It does also imply the ticking of a clock, a good representation of the rather fast pace of the shows. Immediately I checked if the domain www.tektok.nl was still available, luckily it was!

What is your own background and how did you get into the field of information technology?

In primary school I wouldn’t read any book. Therefore, they sent me to a technical school: electrical engineering. After this education I was tired of being around men the entire day, so I decided to go to a more social environment and went to the social academia, which was the other end of the spectrum; a little too soft for me. Finally I graduated in the field of sociology. At the same time, the information revolution began to burst. Ever since, I conducted research on the correlation between human and electronic networks. Currently, I am working on my 8th book on that topic: Helpende Hackers (The Helping Hackers).

When do you consider an episode of TekTok a success?

If the guests on stage had a good time, we managed to tackle a complicated topic and have drinks with a lot of guests after the show! In my opinion, the success is not dependent on the number of views on YouTube. As long as we have more guests than the average conference our mission is accomplished.

Who inspires you?

To be honest, I am often annoyed with Dutch talk show hosts; they are mostly rude and cynical. Luckily we have got Humberto Tan! He comforts his guest and is sincere. Another example is Graham Norton: relaxed and real.

Where could more benefit be gained in the field of information security and privacy, both for undertakings and consumers?

Countersurveillance. If we gather some clever civilians to check what society and undertakings are doing with its data and reveal that to society. That would probably have more impact than legislation. Currently, the amount of damages caused by a loss of reputation is way higher than the amount of fines!

Are you conscious of your own online privacy?

In a playful manner, I am. I enjoy adjusting my profiles continuously to see how the system responds. Whenever I see something strange, I take a screenshot. The collection of screenshots is used in presentations and presented to organizations to confront them with their behavior. To be honest, the greatest miracle is that we are actually doing not that bad at all with our privacy.

What is your best advice in the field of data security and privacy?

Make sure you always separate different accounts and do not use one account for all your online services.

When can we expect the next TekTok late night?

We have to see if we can manage to find new partners for the show. We will definitely be back in the spring of 2015!

 

Check out the latest edition of TekTok Late Night (Dutch only) here.

Want to know more about TekTok? Check out their website on www.tektok.nl

Jonathan Toornstra

Legal researcher

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