For the first time in the 21-year-old history of the famed hacker’s convention, government employees are being asked to stay away from the DEFCON event. Def Con has always catered to hackers, researchers and others interested in security research and employees from the CIA, FBI, and NSA have always been welcome and in fact, regularly attend the annual event. 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. But there will be no federal speakers this year. Def Con is asking all federal employees to stay away from the event entirely.
Def Con founder Jeff Moss (aka The Dark Tangent) issued the following statement yesterday:
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