The founder of the DEF CON hacker conference has announced that members of the U.S. federal government will not be welcome to attend this year’s event.
DEF CON is one of the world’s largest hacker conferences and has been running for 21 years. Until now the conference has always welcomed the participation of federal government employees.
This unusual step has been taken by DEF CON’s founder on behalf of the hacker community and is a response to the recent exposure of the NSA’s omnipresent online spying operation commonly known as PRISM.
The announcement was made by conference founder James Moss (AKA The Dark Tangent) on Wednesday in a short post on the DEF CON website:
“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.”