Defcon de-invites the spooks

Defcon is an astounding hacker convention held annually in Las Vegas, and is known as an extraordinary environment in which spooks and hackers mix freely -- last year, the head of the NSA gave a keynote in which he called for cooperation between security professionals and America's spies. That cooperation is being paused, and may be coming to an end. In Feds, we need some time apart, a posting on the Defcon site, The Dark Tangent (AKA Jeff Moss -- Defcon's owner and hacker-in-chief) says:

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.

As Brian Krebs writes, there was a time when feds were mistrusted and unwelcome at Defcon, but this had changed since 9/11. As with so many other domains, America's authoritarian military-industrial spook-complex has managed to squander goodwill from unlikely quarters and leave America with fewer allies.

Notable Replies

  1. I thought everybody there enjoying playing 'Spot the Fed?'

  2. That's just sure to make the traditional game of “spot the fed plant" all the more entertaining.

    (Mr./Ms. Burke, you beat me by a second.)

  3. Lion says:


    Isn't the guy who posted this a fed himself?

    In 2009 Moss was sworn into the Homeland Security Advisory Council of the Barack Obama administration.


    The Homeland Security Advisory Council is part of the Executive Office of the President of the United States. It was created by an Executive Order on March 19, 2002.


    Jeff Moss is a fed. Is he showing up?

  4. Some enjoyed it, some didn't.

    I personally enjoy us telling them to fuck off at this point. It's time to get more serious about protecting average Americans from governmental and quasi-governmental overreach and corruption.

    If this makes the spooks uncomfortable... then good. They are doing us all a dishonor by sucking up our tax money at a ridiculous rate for their corrupt "protection" racket.

    The gloves are off.

  5. Lion says:

    The fact that I use my real name here instead of some nick name makes it easily verifiable whether or not I have been part of that community. (Hint. I have attended DEFCON , HOPE, and had there not been a ban on travel funds this year, would have also attended BLACKHAT.)

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