Friday evening I went to the Vrijland estate near Schaarsbergen/Arnhem. This former hq of the Dutch 11th Air Mobile Brigade (who still reside nearby) is currently used by the Hack42 collective. Here the book launch of “Infosecurity (Gran knows why)” and opening of the art exhibition “Into Nothingness” took place, in the former chapel of the estate.
Arjen Kamphuis was well known for his work on government transparency, and especially IT and online security. He e.g trained journalists on how to do their work more safely, and consulted various companies on their IT security. He also e.g. consulted the Dutch government in 2013 on why using voting computers is bad practice in an accountable democracy. Next to that he was an avid hiker and mountaineer. In August 2018, during a trip in the north of Norway he went missing, and is presumed to have died due to a kajaking accident. I’ve known Arjen through his work for well over a decade (and I’ve written about his disappearance here before). I’m sad about his disappearance, and as a result have been more active in paying what I learned from him and what he made me aware of forward since then.
Friends of Arjen have collected a selection of his writings and talks, as well as the text of his 2014 book “Information Security for Journalists” (2017 Dutch translation) that he wrote together with journalist Silkie Carlo. Friday they launched a printed version of that collection with the title “Infosecurity (Gran knows why)“. The subtitle is a reference to Arjen’s grandmother who, having witnessed WWII is said to have inspired him in his government accountability work, and in being alert to surveillance overreach like we are experiencing now in this digital age.
The launch saw some short speeches by friends and colleagues, and the chapel setting in part made it feel like for some it was also a way to say goodbye, a way to organise some sort of closure. Next to the book launch, it was also the opening of the exhibition “Into Nothingness” with paintings by Jillis Groen. Scenes from Norway’s nature and Arjen’s disappearing form.