Def Con asks feds to take 'time-out' from hacking conference

By on July 11, 2013, 5:00 PM
nsa, hacking, conference, federal agencies, defcon, prism, edward snowden, def con

Every year since Def Con started in 1993, the hacking conference has brought together industry professionals, hackers, academics, and members of the federal government to talk about computer- and hacking-related subjects. This year marks the first time ever that the feds aren’t being invited back.

In an announcement posted on the Def Con website, founder Jeff Moss addressed the issue. Prefaced by a reminder that the Def Con community operates in “the spirit of openness, verified trust, and mutual respect,” Moss politely rescinded the open invitation.

“When it comes to sharing and socializing with feds, recent revelations have made many in the community uncomfortable about this relationship. Therefore, I think it would be best for everyone involved if the feds call a "time-out" and not attend DEF CON this year.

“This will give everybody time to think about how we got here, and what comes next.”

Moss is an advisor on cyber security to the Department of Homeland Security, but he believes that in light of the recently revealed U.S. surveillance programs, the Def Con community needs some time and distance to “make sense” of it all, he told Reuters.

NSA leaker Edward Snowden has raised a lot of controversy in the past few weeks concerning the PRISM program, Americans’ privacy, and international privacy. But Moss says that this action is not intended to exacerbate the situation or to make a statement, but rather to diffuse tension.

In previous years, NSA, FBI, CIA, and Secret Service officials attended the conference. The director of the National Security Agency, General Keith Alexander, was the keynote speaker at last year’s conference. At that time, Alexander was asked about government snooping, and the collection of data on millions of Americans. Alexander denied any such allegations, of course.

The absence of the feds at Def Con this year will leave some time to clear the air, but Alexander is still scheduled to speak at Black Hat, a smaller hacking conference on July 31. Black Hat is also run by Moss, and it’s unclear whether Alexander will stay on the agenda.




User Comments: 5

Got something to say? Post a comment
2 people like this | dms96960 said:

They don't really need to be there since they will probably be "listening in."

Ranger1st Ranger1st said:

Not sure how they plan to keep the US gov't from attending, I'm sure 20% of the attendees will be forwarding ALL the info they get, gladly , to the NSA, HS...

umbala said:

Not sure how they plan to keep the US gov't from attending, I'm sure 20% of the attendees will be forwarding ALL the info they get, gladly , to the NSA, HS...

I think you totally missed the point. Uninviting the feds was not intended to try and keep government agencies "in the dark" about what's happening at Def Con.

Ranger1st Ranger1st said:

Then it was a hollow gesture as know one is going to care.. Feds are screwing over the populous, the people that most hackers champion and I doubt most people there are overly fond of the feds lying to their face last year at what is suppose to be an 'open hand' event.

I think you totally missed the point. Uninviting the feds was not intended to try and keep government agencies "in the dark" about what's happening at Def Con.

highlander84 said:

Not sure how they plan to keep the US gov't from attending, I'm sure 20% of the attendees will be forwarding ALL the info they get, gladly , to the NSA, HS...

I think you totally missed the point. Uninviting the feds was not intended to try and keep government agencies "in the dark" about what's happening at Def Con.

Not only that, the article states for those who do not know what its all about ?the spirit of openness, verified trust, and mutual respect," They have clearly shown they have little concern for such things. I think its a great call.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.