Last year, NSA director General Keith Alexander gave the keynote (and recruitment-focused) speech at Def Con, the world’s largest hacking conference and an event that is known for obscuring the social and professional boundaries between hackers and the feds.
Because there isn’t an advanced registration process (attendees simply pay with cash at the door), federal employees have always had some sort of presence in the 20 years the event has been taking place. However, this year, largely because of the recent revelations about NSA surveillance programs , Def Con founder Jeff Moss took to the conference’s website to ask government officials not to attend the event this year:
“When it comes to sharing and socializing with feds, recent revelations have made many in the community uncomfortable about the 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.”
It isn’t clear if the feds will heed to his advice. But, interestingly, Moss himself actually works as an adviser to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. I wonder how many spy programs he has advised Homeland Security on.