Hacker Culture is close to Brazilian Culture

Daniela Silva and Pedro Markun work together in the House of Digital Culture in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It’s a co-working space – lovely set-up – where many young people meet and work in the fields of transparency, open innovation, digital culture and and the culture of hacking.

I like this interview a lot, because

  • it shows so much that these 2 young people really love the work they do
  • they are deeply convinced that the topics they are working on will have an impact on Brazlian society
  • they are really good in what they do and
  • they understood that they have to start with themselves first (“be the change you want to see” 😉
  • they don’t live in a bubble
  • it gives pretty cool insights into the Brazilian Internet and hacker scene
  • as well as into Brazilian society


One of my favourite projects Daniela and Pedro are involved in, is the “Ônibus Hacker” – the Hacker Bus. The project was born from the Brazilian online community Transparência Hacker, ‘Hacker Transparency’. It was created in 2009 around a HackDay in São Paulo, and the group’s discussion list now counts over 700 members. As its name says, its focus is (h)activism in favor of public transparency and open data. Previous and ongoing projects include Otoridades, a portal where Brazilians can denunciate abuses of power, and Mapas Livres, which focuses on open mapping.

They participated in Rio de Janeiro’s Digital Culture Festival, Sao Paulo’s Campus Party was also on the agenda, as well as ConSocial. This government initiative was Brazil’s first National Conference on Transparency and Social Control. The most important part of the project will be its interaction with the general public. Hacker Transparency calls it ‘Hacker Invasions’: the group’s plan is to visit small towns, where they can have a stronger impact on local realities. It doesn’t mean they will come up with ready-made solutions; it will be a work in progress, in partnership with the local population. During one weekend, they listened to the inhabitants’ needs and helped them to develop answers with the help of to technology, from blogs to apps. In other terms, it was a local version of their HackDays.

Although these actions are local, Hacker Bus hopes to have a larger impact: thanks to webcams and 3G, anyone interested should be able to watch their progress in real time. Hacker Bus might even physically go beyond Brazil’s borders as the group has received an invitation to visit Uruguay. Quite impressive for a project which only started fundraising less than a year ago.