Tags: hackers | def | con | convention

Hackers Tell Feds to Stay Away from Annual Convention

Thursday, 11 Jul 2013 04:19 PM

By Lisa Barron

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The annual Def Con hacking convention has asked the federal government not to attend this year in the wake of former National Security contractor Edward Snowden's leaks about the government's secret surveillance programs.

In previous years, the conference has drawn officials from federal agencies including the NSA, CIA, FBI Secret Service and all branches of the military.

"When it comes to sharing and socializing with feds, recent revelations have made many in the community uncomfortable with this relationship," Moss said on the organization's website Wednesday.

Moss, who is an advisor on cyber security to the Department of Homeland Security, told Reuters that it was "a tough call," but that he believed the Def Con community needs time to make sense of the recent revelations about U.S. data-gathering.

The community is digesting things that the feds have had a decade to understand and come to terms with, he said, adding, "A little bit of time and distance can be a healthy thing, especially when emotions are running high."

Last year, NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander was a keynote speaker at the event. When asked about secret government surveillance, he denied it, saying, "The people who would say we are doing that should know better. That is absolute nonsense."

But Alexander is reportedly schedule to speak in Las Vegas on July 31 at Black Hat, a smaller two-day hacking conference also founded by Moss, who goes by the pseudonym "The Dark Tangent."

Def Con, which begins Aug. 2 in Las Vegas, is expected to draw a crowd of more than 15,000 hackers, researchers, corporate security experts, privacy advocates and others.

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