The Chaos Computer Club (CCC) is Europe’s largest association of hackers with 7,700 registered members. It is incorporated as an eingetragener Verein in Germany, with local chapters (called Erfa-Kreise) in various cities in Germany and other German-speaking countries. Some chapters in Switzerland are organised in the independent sister association Chaos Computer Club Schweiz instead.
The CCC describes itself as “a galactic community of life forms, independent of age, sex, race or societal orientation, which strives across borders for freedom of information…”. In general, the CCC advocates more transparency in government, freedom of information, and the human right to communication. Supporting the principles of the hacker ethic, the club also fights for free universal access to computers and technological infrastructure as well as the use of Open-source software. The CCC spreads an entrepreneurial vision refusing capitalist control. It has been characterised as “…one of the most influential digital organisations anywhere, the centre of German digital culture, hacker culture, hacktivism, and the intersection of any discussion of democratic and digital rights”.
Members of the CCC have demonstrated and publicized a number of important information security problems. The CCC frequently criticizes new legislation and products with weak information security which endanger citizen rights or the privacy of users. Notable members of the CCC regularly function as expert witnesses for the German constitutional court, organize lawsuits and campaigns, or otherwise influence the political process.