Atlantic Cybersecurity Collective (ACC) hosts its third UNCONFERENCE in Saint John on June 10. Previously known as OWASP, ACC is rebranding itself as a collective community for anyone interested in the world of tech.
ACC is a Moncton-based non-profit group that focuses on cybersecurity and the tech industry. Julien Richard, ACC’s founder, says members of the group get together frequently to hang out and discuss their interest in tech.
Richard says that after searching for groups that focus on the IT industry and not finding anything, he decided to start OWASP in late 2020, in Moncton. It started as a non-profit group that aimed to bring together people with similar interests in the IT industry.
“I wanted to basically use [OWASP] as a platform to bring people in and gain their interest,” Richard tells Huddle. “But there were a lot of bylaws and a lot of things that you need to abide by and report back to the group, and I didn’t like that.”
This then led to Richard starting what is now known as ACC in Moncton. This allowed him to recreate a group that he could reach more people across the Atlantic provinces and also introduce a different structure to the group.
Today, Richard says that ACC is a community-led group. Everything regarding the group is done as a community, rather than by those of higher power. For example, Richard says they currently working on a website for ACC. However, rather than hiring a big company to do so, a student member of ACC is working on it to gain experience in the field.
“The group is now called the Atlantic Cybersecurity Collective,” says Richard. “It is very much a collective. The idea is just to get people that are either already in the industry, veterans, juniors, intermediates, it doesn’t matter.”
An event that ACC likes to hold is something that they call the UNCONFERENCE. This is an event that is run entirely by those who attend the day of, with little to no planning of what will be discussed before the event.
Richard says that on the day of, people will arrive at the event with either a presentation, a topic of conversation, or just to watch. Those interested in having time to speak will then put their names down in a time slot, giving them that designated time to discuss their interests.
“It is 100 per cent participant-driven, which means that we don’t schedule any talks in advance,” says Richard. “The beauty is that we never know what we’re going to get.”
Due to this model of conference, each UNCONFERENCE is very different from the last. With each event being free to anyone who has an interest, ACC wants to welcome everyone into their community.
The next UNCONFERENCE will be held at ConnextionWorks in Saint John on Saturday, June 10th. Richard says some sponsors that have donated money for food, prizes, and more to make the event even more fun.
With hopes to welcome even more people into ACC from around the province, Richard says that they are all very excited about this weekend’s event.
Ryley Roach is a student intern with Huddle, an Acadia Broadcasting content partner.