“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.”
— Jeff Moss, founder of Def Con, on the annual hacking convention’s website. In light of the recent revelations about the U.S. government’s sweeping surveillance of phone calls and online communications information, Moss (a.k.a. The Dark Tangent and who joined the Homeland Security Advisory Council in 2009,) told Reuters that “the community is digesting things that the Feds have had a decade to understand and come to terms with.” He also said the move — the first time in Def Con’s 21-year history — aims to defuse tension, not create it: “We are not going on a witch hunt or checking IDs and kicking people out.” Def Con attracts everyone from bona fide hackers to children who might be future white hats to U.S. spying agencies that have gone there to recruit workers. In fact, last year’s keynote speaker was NSA Chief Keith Alexander, who according to Reuters flatly denied that the National Security Agency had dossiers on millions of Americans. As we’ve mentioned, Alexander testified at a House of Representatives Intelligence Committee last month said the Prism spying program had already foiled terrorist plots. Def Con will be held during the first week of August.
Photo: NSA Director Gen. Alexander — keynote speaker at last year’s Def Con — testifies in Washington, D.C., last month. (MCT)