- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
Hackers back away from relationship with the feds; ‘Need some time apart’
It’s official: The love affair between hackers and feds is over, thanks to revelations about National Security Agency snooping and what many see as overly harsh or misdirected prosecutions of “hacktivists.”
But it’s not clear whether the two are splitsville forever or just taking a time-out.
DefCon, the biggest annual U.S. conference for computer hackers, last year featured the director of the National Security Agency as its keynote speaker — and his agency operated a kiosk, where it handed out tchotchkes, brochures and job applications.
DefCon founder Jeff Moss says law enforcement and intelligence officials should stay away this year.
“Feds, we need some time apart,” Mr. Moss, the hacker known as “Dark Tangent,” wrote late Wednesday on his blog, prompting a lively Internet discussion about the ethics and wisdom of the attempted exclusion — and the changing character of the hacker community itself.
DefCon, which last year was attended by an estimated 13,000 people, has long been “a place where seasoned pros, hackers, academics, and feds can meet, share ideas and party on neutral territory,” Mr. Moss wrote.
He added: “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 DefCon this year.”
In previous years, “the U.S. Government recruiters were incredibly rude and creepy, with little to no transparency” about what they were recruiting for, wrote a former DefCon volunteer organizer, using the handle Nulltone.
The former organizer compared U.S. government recruiters to representatives of foreign intelligence services, who “were actually incredibly polite and understood that transparency was appreciated.”
The NSA did not respond to a request for comment.
“It’s the right move,” Kevin Gallagher, director of the Free Barrett Brown Campaign, said of DefCon’s proposed ban on intelligence and law enforcement.
Mr. Gallagher said the unease in the hacker community stems from not just the revelations about the NSA’s data-gathering, but also how the FBI and the Justice Department had moved aggressively to prosecute certain hackers.
Barrett Brown, a freelance journalist from Dallas, faces more than 100 years in prison after being indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of trafficking in stolen goods after he shared a link to data taken by hackers from the computer network of private intelligence firm Stratfor. He has spent 10 months in jail awaiting trial.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Shaun Waterman is an award-winning reporter for The Washington Times, covering foreign affairs, defense and cybersecurity. He was a senior editor and correspondent for United Press International for nearly a decade, and has covered the Department of Homeland Security since 2003. His reporting on the Sept. 11 Commission and the tortuous process by which some of its recommendations finally became ...
- Senator's memo shows Iran links in Homeland Security's troubled immigration program
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- Dems back bill to fix problems in investor visa program
- Democrats proceed with Mayorkas vote despite pending investigation
- Game players don't think peace has a chance in Syria
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- Vietnam says it may have found door of missing Malaysian jet as intel look into stolen passports
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- Obama engages in Ukraine diplomacy from Fla. resort as Russia digs in
- CPAC 2014 straw poll results
- EDITORIAL: Senate rejects Adegbile for Justice post
- Italy outraged over U.S. gun dealer's 'David' ad
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again