DefCon 2003 - myth, reality and pictures

Wednesday, 6 August 2003, 10:06 AM EST

Attendees at this year's DEFCON hacker convention in Las Vegas were more annoyed at the long lines for speaker sessions than any appearance by "The Man" (i.e. the Feds). The authority feared this time 'round was the local Vegas fire marshal -- 6,000 or so people in attendance and not enough seats to hold everyone in the conference sessions. People were left standing in line and left out of first-day sessions. Since each DEFCON attendee paid $75 in cash (U.S. currency only, no Visa, MasterCard or Euros), The Hacker Street became annoyed.

For the mainstream media, DEFCON is all about visual shock candy. If it is a choice between JesusHackers and the HaXXXor Girls, it's an easy guess which ones will make the evening news. Most of the security news last week was nefariously linked to DEFCON, regardless of relevance.

Whatever the case, the mostly male, mostly black T-shirt crowd got an earful from a variety of speakers (assuming they could find a seat - no standing, per fire code). Phil Zimmermann, creator of the PGP encryption program, fessed up to wanting to ship the PGP program overseas as a human rights tool, altho' his lawyers told him not to say admit it while battling the U.S. government in court for three years.

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