UNITED STATES FEDERAL INVESTIGATORS and white hat vigilantes are not welcome at this year's Defcon hacker conference.
There is usually a game played at the event, and that is "spot the fed". Usually they are easy to pick out thanks to their suits and shiny shoes, crewcuts and questions like, "What's a VPN?"
This year if there are any there they are going to have to attend in serious disguises.
The bar has come down because of recent alarming news about US federal government snooping and the US National Security Agency (NSA) PRISM programme, as well as the government persecution and tragic suicide of Aaron Swartz and 'hacking' prosecutions of other individuals by the US government.
Anyway, it doesn't seem like Defcon attendees should be happy to play host to guests that are already snooping on them, the US public and the rest of the world, not to mention trying to throw some of them in prison.
"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," said a note posted to the Defcon website.
"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 announcement comes in the wake of the PRISM scandal. That was exposed by NSA whistleblower Ed Snowden and has highlighted just how nosey the US government and its federal investigators are, which is very nosey indeed.
Defcon 21 will be held in Las Vegas in the first week of August. µ
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