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DEF CON Advises Feds Not To Attend Conference 250

Posted by samzenpus
from the and-stay-out dept.
tsu doh nimh writes "One of the more time-honored traditions at DEF CON — the massive hacker convention held each year in Las Vegas — is 'Spot-the-Fed,' a playful and mostly harmless contest to out undercover government agents that attend the show each year. But that game might be a bit tougher when the conference rolls around again next month: In an apparent reaction to recent revelations about far-reaching U.S. government surveillance programs, DEF CON organizers are asking feds to just stay away: 'I think it would be best for everyone involved if the feds call a "time-out" and not attend DEF CON this year,' conference organizer Jeff Moss wrote in a short post at Defcon.org. Krebsonsecurity writes that after many years of mutual distrust, the hacker community and the feds buried a lot of their differences in the wake of 911, with the director of NSA even delivering the keynote at last year's conference. But this year? Spot the fed may just turn into hack-the-fed."
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DEF CON Advises Feds Not To Attend Conference

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  • by techsoldaten (309296) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @05:42AM (#44248351) Journal

    I have never really been comfortable with having the Feds in there in the first place. Anyone in government can potentially serve in a prosecutorial role, and the government has demonstrated over the years they are perfectly willing to demonize hackers if it serves a need. Thinking about Mitnick, Gonzales, and a bunch of other guys who got railroaded here, along with 2600 meetings where we would get interrogated just for showing up to have coffee.

    It's a little like inviting the fox into the henhouse to have these guys around. Pretending that they care about the hacker community is a little hard for me to do.

    • by FriendlyLurker (50431) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @05:53AM (#44248399)

      Pretending that they care about the community is a little hard for me to do.

      Fixed that for you.

      • by Cryacin (657549)
        Pretending like they care about their sponsors in the community is easy to do, however.

        FTFY
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Teaching the Feds about the difference in hacking and cracking, blackhat, greyhat and whitehat, seems to me not to be such a bad idea.
      Problem with the Feds are they are puppets, and will do anything they're told to do to pocket their salaries.
      Too often in such situations, knowledge of right and wrong goes out the window.

      The problem with public knowledge and hardened security is that it's against grand interestrates for the 0.01%.

      • by TWiTfan (2887093)

        You can't teach a pig to bark. Well, maybe a really exceptional pig.

        • No, but you can dress it up in a dog suit and still fool the masses.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Steve_Ussler (2941703)
        You have to realize that the 'feds' have good people. If you add up all the extremely smart hackers at the CIA, NSA, FBI, etc., who all work in secret...there are at least 5,000 of them. A formidable team.
        • by davydagger (2566757) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @10:57AM (#44250671)
          who are these hackers, nerds like you, are home grown suits, drawn from the typical agent pool.

          No, its people like us they recruit. Of those 5,000, I can guaruntee that at least 4,000 were the type that would attend DEFCON, BEFORE, they starting working for the feds. Their good people are us. All institutions and movements survive by recruiting. The Feds have good people because people like us decide to work for them. They really need to remember that.

          No, WE really need to remember that. Then remember how we get treated by society, the press, the legal system, etc...

          Then think how well they get treated.
      • the problem with the feds is really thinking they care.

        as with most sub-cultures, counter-cultures, its not that they misunderstand you, its they PURPOSEFULLY misrepresent you to the public. They just play stupid to get you do to all the work of informing them on how your sub culture works, which they use to exploit it.

        If they can't exploit it, they just arrest everyone. If they do a good job of pre-trial slander, all they really have to do is prove you belong to a group of undesirables, and they really don
      • Problem with the software and hardware engineers are they are puppets, and will do anything they're told to do to pocket their salaries.
        Too often in such situations, knowledge of right and wrong goes out the window.

        fixed that for you.

        (yes, we are to blame for doing ANY damned thing as long as The Man pays our salaries. but I've already ranted about this before...)

        yes, blame the feds for being amoral. but blame us, too, for we usually will whore ourselves out to a company as long as we get healthcare, week

    • On the other hand, the founder is a consultant for homeland security and has invited the feds since the first year.
    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      I'd say its more like inviting a legbreaker to a peace rally really,especially since they have been shown in the past to be happy to kill the messenger if anybody dares point out their security is shitty.

      The weird thing is this seems to have happened all across the country with regard to LEOs, i know little old ladies that used to be as police friendly as can be that wouldn't piss on one if they were on fire now, its really become an "us VS them" mentality all over the place.

  • by kennethmci (1472923) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @05:43AM (#44248355)
    I imagine after being asked NOT to attend, they will be FAR more interested in attending.
    • by ciderbrew (1860166) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @05:46AM (#44248365)
      I don't think being asked not to attend will stop them.
      This time they should know are not welcome and more importantly why.
    • by jythie (914043) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @06:02AM (#44248435)
      I am kinda curious if they can enforce it in a legal way. 'hack the fed' would be one thing, but it would be terribly amusing to see security escorting federal agents out of the building. It is a private convention and they are free to prohibit anyone they like.
    • [ackbar]

      IT'S A TRAP

  • by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @06:04AM (#44248445) Homepage

    Defcon hasn't been about Defcon for a long time now. Since, what, Defcon 5 or 6? Ever since they moved out to that dumb Alexis hotel.

    The REAL conference is Blackhat Briefings, which goes on during the week and is attended by serious people. Then, on the weekend, we bring the freaks out for your amusement and cap off Blackhat with Defcon. It's all about $$$$$ for Darktangent.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 11, 2013 @06:29AM (#44248531)

      hah I remember being at defcon in 2002 and some crew from Japan public radio or something started interviewing me, went something like this:

      interviewer: Why did you come to DefCon?

      me: I'm totally here to hang with my friends and party.

      interviewer: You didn't come here to share information?

      me: d00d, we do that every day, it's called the In-ter-net.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 11, 2013 @06:07AM (#44248467)

    I'll be the one dressed as a lumberjack, covered in salt.

  • by c0lo (1497653) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @06:40AM (#44248577)
    Please... would DEFCON organizers be so kind to ask the spooks to stay out not only of the conference but out of the entire citizens life? Thanks.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 11, 2013 @06:40AM (#44248587)

    The Feds who show up and identify themselves as Feds aren't the Feds you need to worry about anyway.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 11, 2013 @06:48AM (#44248603)

    When you dance with the Devil, the Devil doesn't change - you do.

    Look up Smedley Butler. He joined for patriotism, he was decorated for bravery and then he was used to murder civilians for agribusiness. Here we are a century later and the game is the same. Young men join for patriotism and end up murdering civilians for the profits of the 1%

  • by nojayuk (567177) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @06:50AM (#44248613)

    In USA, Fed hacks YOU!

    In an alternate universe the Def Con membership includes somebody by the name of Snowden... is he considered a Fed or not-Fed?

  • Although (as seen here on /.) that's not been going too well for them lately, at least publicly.

    But time, and the "law" is on their side.
    And of course, they don't even have to physically go there to find out what's going on.

    Showcase something smart, but borderline legal, and maybe you'll get a call after the conf. "inviting" you to join the team.

    • by Minupla (62455)

      Heck, last year the NSA had a fscking recruiting booth there (and an enigma machine, which was frankly cool)!

      DoD has been recruiting there for years. Fortunately being non-US, the conversations are shorter for me.

      Min

  • by lemur3 (997863) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @07:56AM (#44248865)

    Would it be any more difficult to spot one of the vast numerous contractors that work at the behest of the feds?

  • Spot the fed may just turn into hack-the-fed

    I hope you are not suggesting DEFCON might go Brazilian on them?

    Who knows? An Orwellian surveillance state is a lot more serious than soccer.

    • I hope you are not suggesting DEFCON might go Brazilian on them?

      We can haggle over a working definition of privacy, but unauthorized waxing in *that region* is way, way over the line.

  • by argStyopa (232550) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @08:22AM (#44248995) Journal

    If you think the Feds you knew were there were the only Feds there, you're an idiot.

    Personally, were I an FBI wonk, I'd have long-ago made penetrating DEFCON a priority on so many levels and so long ago that I'd have deep-penetration spooks in the leadership today, guiding policy. That's practically Machiavelli 101.

    Hell, I'd have even doubled-up, and sent honeypot Feds to BE hacked/cracked/busted, so the Defcon kids would feel like they were winning, ala:
    http://img153.imageshack.us/img153/8581/4puc.jpg [imageshack.us]

    (SFW aside from PG13 language).

    • by blueg3 (192743)

      You know, most of the feds that go to Defcon are simply security researchers and hackers, just like half the other people there, who happen to work for a different organization.

    • If you think the Feds you knew were there were the only Feds there, you're an idiot.

      DEF CON: It's Feds all the way down.

  • semantics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @08:26AM (#44249019) Homepage Journal

    Does "Fed" include all the people in that room who are contractors for various federal agencies?

    Does anyone believe that being once removed by virtue of a private company makes you any less part of the police state?

    • Does anyone believe that being once removed by virtue of a private company makes you any less part of the police state?

      Sadly most either think so, or don't - but don't care.

  • Please stay off my phone records and phone calls, and stay out of my internet logs, and all that noise..
  • by haus (129916) on Thursday July 11, 2013 @09:45AM (#44249757) Homepage Journal

    Does it seem strange that someone working for the Federal Government (DHS) is asking other Federal Employees to stay away?

  • Openness to all & the free exchange of ideas and information with curious people doesn't seem compatible with the exclusion of any one group.

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