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July 12, 2013

US Hackers Cooling Off Towards Federal Agencies

by VOA News

U.S. hackers say they need “some time apart” from federal government agencies, which have frequently employed them for their snooping skills.

The hackers’ annual convention called DEF CON, is regularly attended by computer security professionals, journalists, privacy advocates and hackers, as well as federal government employees. In his comment posted Wednesday on the convention’s website, one of its founders, Jeff Moss, asked the federal workers to stay away.

He said that recent revelations about U.S. surveillance programs have made many in the hacking community “uncomfortable about this relationship,” and that everybody should have some time to think “how we got here and what comes next.”  Moss, also known by his hacker nickname - The Dark Tangent - is a security advisor for the Department of Homeland Security.

This year’s DEF CON will be held in Las Vegas starting August 2. The convention is the world's largest annual gathering of hackers, attracting more than 10,000 participants.
Past gatherings were regularly attended by officials from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Secret Service and various military agencies.

Last year's keynote speaker was the head of the National Security Agency, U.S. General Keith Alexander. Moss invited him to speak this year at a smaller gathering of hackers, being held in Las Vegas two days before DEF CON.