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Locksport is the sport or recreation of defeating locking systems. Its enthusiasts learn a variety of skills including lock picking, lock bumping, and a variety of other skills traditionally known only to locksmiths and other security professionals. Locksport followers enjoy the challenge and excitement of learning to defeat all forms of locks, and often gather together in sport groups to share knowledge, exchange ideas, and participate in a variety of recreational activities and contests.
Lock picking has been around for as long as locks have, and recreational lock picking has been as well. King Louis XVI of France (1754–1793) was a keen designer, picker and manipulator of locks, and physicist Richard Feynman picked locks for fun in the 1940s while employed on the Manhattan Project. Notes from the MIT Roof and Tunnel Hacking community were made widely available in 1991 as The MIT Guide to Lock Picking.
However, as an organized hobby, lock picking is a relatively recent phenomenon. The earliest known organized group of lock picking enthusiasts is the German club SSDeV (Sportsfreunde der Sperrtechnik - Deutschland e.V. or, translated Sportsenthusiasts of Lockpicking – Germany). SSDeV was founded by Steffen Wernéry in 1997. As the group grew in Germany, another group was founded in The Netherlands in 1999. This group, originally called NVHS, and currently called TOOOL (The Open Organisation Of Lockpickers), has also helped to pioneer the collaborative hobby of lock picking.
The term locksport was adopted by lock picking enthusiasts as a way of differentiating what they do from locksmiths, as well as from those who might choose to pick locks for nefarious purposes. As of early 2005, the term had been suggested, but not widely adopted. The creation of the sport group Locksport International in July 2005, founded by Josh Nekrep, Kim Bohnet, and Devon McDormand of LockPicking101.com, helped to solidify the term within the community, and today the term is widely adopted in North America by those who practice the craft for fun and sport. Locksport International is now under the direction of Doug Farre.
At the core of locksport is the philosophical belief in responsible full disclosure. Locksport enthusiasts target security through obscurity that is common within the locksmith industry, as well as among lock manufacturers. Those who choose to participate in locksport often seek to discover security vulnerabilities and notify lock manufacturers as well as, in some instances, the public, in an effort to promote improvements in the field of physical security and to aid consumers in making better, more informed decisions about their own security. This philosophy is contradictory to that held by many locksmith organizations, and locksport enthusiasts have come under attack for releasing information about lesser-known vulnerabilities. Nonetheless, locksport enthusiasts persist in discovering weaknesses in all forms of physical security.
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