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Feds Asked to Sit Out Defcon Hacking Conference This Year


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A "No Feds" symbol.

Defcon hacking convention organizers anticipate participation by U.S. federal government workers would make other attendees uneasy, in light of recent revelations of governmental electronic surveillance, so they have asked the federal employees not to attend.

Credit: Texas Fish&Game

Defcon hacking convention organizers have asked federal government workers not to attend the event this year, because of tension in the hacker community over recent revelations of the U.S. government's electronic surveillance efforts.

"When it comes to sharing and socializing with feds, recent revelations have made many in the community uncomfortable about this relationship," says Defcon founder Jeff Moss.

The decision highlights the tensions that have been building within the information security community for some time, according to Verizon's Kyle Maxwell. "While not new, I feel a mood in the hacker community that has resurged to levels I've not seen in years," Maxwell says. "The Snowden affair really only brought to the fore problems that seemed to worsen during the Bush administration, then got quiet with many people feeling that perhaps things will change under President Obama."

However, others say that Defcon organizers are just trying to avoid conflicts during the event and not discourage people from coming. "From shouting matches, to physical violence, to 'hack the fed,' something bad might occur," says Errata Security CEO Robert Graham. "Or, simply attendees will choose to stay away."

From IDG News Service
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