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Researchers Now Pulling Out of DEF CON In Response To Anti-Fed Position 204

Posted by timothy
from the at-least-the-tsa-gives-free-massages dept.
darthcamaro writes "Earlier today it, Slashdot had a story about DEF CON's position on not allowing U.S. Federal agents to attend the annual hacking conference. We're now starting to see the backlash from the hacker community itself with at least two well respected hackers pulling out of the DEF CON speaking sessions so far: "'The issue we are struggling with, and the basis of our decision, is that we feel strongly that DEF CON has always presented a neutral ground that encouraged open communication among the community, despite the industry background and diversity of motives to attend,' security researcher Kevin Johnson wrote. 'We believe the exclusion of the "feds" this year does the exact opposite at a critical time.'" Meanwhile, Black Hat welcomes Federal attendees; this year's conference will feature as a speaker former NSA head Keith Alexander.
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Researchers Now Pulling Out of DEF CON In Response To Anti-Fed Position

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  • Re:Fuck 'em (Score:5, Interesting)

    by causality (777677) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @06:35PM (#44256543)

    Or perhaps it will take an asteroid hurdling towards Earth for you to side with "the feds" and work together on a solution?

    It is rather difficult to trust a group of people with a long history of lies, abuses, manipulation, and little or no accountability. This is one of those hard facts that doesn't just go away. It takes a long time and a lot of effort to restore broken trust, especially when it has been repeatedly broken with little or no consequence to the perpetrators.

    Right now our government doesn't seem interested in regaining the trust and confidence of the citizens. They'd rather watch every move and outright spy on the people, becoming more and more intrusive, in order to justify this paranoia of theirs that more of their misdeeds might become known. It never seems to occur to them to look in the mirror if they want to find the source of the problem. They don't seem to think that maybe, just maybe, actual respect for the lives, privacy, and freedom of the citizens they're supposed to be serving is a better solution.

    If some doomsday asteroid were coming our way, these people would likely retreat to some kind of well-stocked underground "continuity of government" bunker than lift a finger to help us.

  • by bdwebb (985489) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @07:28PM (#44256987)

    We do not want to make this a "political" move, and we do not make this decision based on their motivations. The issue we are struggling with, and the basis of our decision, is that we feel strongly that DEF CON has always presented a neutral ground that encouraged open communication among the community, despite the industry background and diversity of motives to attend. We believe the exclusion of the "feds" this year does the exact opposite at a critical time.

    James and I do not feel that this should be about anti/pro government, but rather a continuation of openness that this event has always encouraged. We both have much respect for DEF CON and the entire organization and security community.

    The specific inclusion of the federal government was never the intent of DefCon. The intent was to provide a neutral ground for people working in the security industry or on the fringes of the industry to be able to come together and discuss ideas, problems, and solutions. The Feds began coming, not to participate in the DefCon community but hoping to catch hackers or to recruit them. Obviously there may be some federal employees who attend for the same reasons we do, but DefCon prizes anonymity and those who would legitimately be attending obviously could not and would not be excluded.

    For your team to purposely pull your talk from DefCon because they have asked that the feds not attend this year is absolutely silly. If your purpose is openness and community, it seems rather fishy that the organizers simply asking that the 'Feds' don't attend (i.e. the guys trying to track hackers) would incite you to pull your talk. I think it is completely disingenuous to say that this is not a political move because the community will still be there - you just aren't targeting the community anymore with your talks and your target audience may not be present...at least that's the way you make it seem.

  • Re:Fuck 'em (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Darinbob (1142669) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @07:40PM (#44257063)

    And yet last year everyone who attended DEF CON already knew the NSA was spying, they just didn't have any proof of it. There were ok with having feds last year though. So the only thing that really changed is that this spying is now front page news.

  • give back the name! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by stenvar (2789879) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @07:58PM (#44257165)

    The people making up DEF CON hijacked the term "hacker" for their security-related work. Give it back to the people who actually deserve it: smart, clever engineering types.

That does not compute.

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