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Feds asked to avoid Def Con hacking conference after PRISM scandal

11 Jul 2013

The organisers of the US hacking conference Def Con have asked federal agents to stay away from this year's event given the revelations about the PRISM hacking scandal that broke earlier this year, generating huge levels of mistrust among the hacking community.

Writing under his alias The Dark Tangent on the event’s website, organiser Jeff Moss said in the past the open nature of Def Con had been its greatest asset and a reason why the event had proved so popular.

“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,” he wrote.

“Our community operates in the spirit of openness, verified trust, and mutual respect.”

However, he said that this year it would be sensible if a line was drawn and agents did not attend, as emotions would be running high about the extent of surveillance carried out by the government under the PRISM data collection scheme.

“When it comes to sharing and socialising with feds, recent revelations have made many in the community uncomfortable about this relationship,” Moss added.

“Therefore, I think it would be best for everyone involved if the feds call a ‘time-out’ and not attend DEF CON this year.”

He added that this would give everybody “time to think about how we got here, and what comes next."

Earlier this week the European Commission (EC) approved an investigation into the PRISM spying scandal, which also led to claims that government offices had been bugged in order to pry into conversations between world leaders.

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

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