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.