Much of Defcon's popularity has stemmed from the effort put into making it completely neutral venue for the information security community. By asking the government to stay away, Defcon has lost some of that neutrality, he said.
The surveillance activities revealed by Snowden, and that Moss alluded to in his statement, have all been found to be completely legitimate and vetted by all three branches of the government. So rather than try and exclude government agencies, it would have been better to use Defcon as an opportunity to get more answers on the surveillance practices, he said.
"It would be better to have a legitimate discussion on the issue," Winkler said. "Why is it legal, why is it constitutional. Stopping a group of people from attending goes against the spirit of what Defcon is supposed to be," he said.
Defcon has always thrived on presenting controversial security topics and has gone out of the way to make it possible for people to do so, Winkler noted.
"Why is the government being singled out when no group has been singled out and prevented from speaking," he said.
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