The federal government is persona non grata at this year’s Defcon.
For the first time in the 21-year-history of the famed hacker’s
convention, government employees are being asked to stay away, albeit in
a polite fashion.
Def Con founder Jeff Moss, aka The Dark Tangent, posted the following plea on the event’s Web site
Feds, we need some time apart.
For over two
decades DEF CON has been an open nexus of hacker culture, a place where
seasoned pros, hackers, academics, and feds can meet, share ideas and
party on neutral territory. Our community operates in the spirit of
openness, verified trust, and mutual respect.
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.
The Dark Tangent
“The community is digesting things that the Feds have had a decade to
understand and come to terms with,” Moss said. “A little bit of time
and distance can be a healthy thing, especially when emotions are
But Def Con won’t be hiring a bunch of bouncers to throw out the Feds.
“We are not going on a witch hunt or checking IDs and kicking people out,” Moss added.
Def Con has always been geared toward hackers, researchers, and other
security devotees. But employees from the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, and
other government branches have been welcome and have attended for many
General Keith Alexander, the head of National Security Agency, even
gave a keynote speech at last year’s event. Alexander was asked at the
time whether the government was snooping on its citizens and denied that the NSA was gathering information on all Americans.