Counter-confab TrustyCon to host speakers boycotting RSA Conference

A new conference focusing on issues of "trust" at the intersection of privacy and security will take place during RSA's annual show.

Seth Rosenblatt Former Senior Writer / News
Senior writer Seth Rosenblatt covered Google and security for CNET News, with occasional forays into tech and pop culture. Formerly a CNET Reviews senior editor for software, he has written about nearly every category of software and app available.
Seth Rosenblatt
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Security professionals boycotting February's RSA Conference in protest of NSA activity will still get a chance to be heard, and they won't even have to cancel their plane tickets.

A new show called TrustyCon will provide a stage for the RSA Conference boycotters to deliver the same presentations at the AMC Metreon movie theater here that they would've given just around the corner at the Moscone Center.

The boycotters objected to an NSA-supported cryptographic flaw in a RSA encryption tool. TrustyCon, to be held on February 27 at the same time as the RSA Conference, is sponsored by iSEC Partners, a security consulting firm; the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF); and the hacker conference Def Con.

Tickets to the show, available now at TrustyCon's Web site, will cost $50, and all proceeds will be donated to the EFF. The show will have attendance limited to 400 people, since it will be held in a movie theater.

"We expect the tickets to sell out," said Alex Stamos, the chief technology officer at security firm Artemis who is co-organizing the counter-conference. Stamos said that live-streaming plans are in the works as well.

Sponsored by Microsoft, which is also a sponsor of RSA Conference, and CloudFlare, TrustyCon's single-track of speakers include a mix of RSA Conference boycotters and security industry luminaries.

They include Marcia Hoffman, an independent privacy attorney who used to work for the Electronic Frontier Foundation; Jeff Moss, the founder of Black Hat and Def Con, Chris Palmer, a senior security researcher at Google; Christopher Soghoian, the American Civil Liberty Union's principal technologist; Stamos; and Mikko Hypponen, the chief research officer for F-Secure and the first high-profile speaker to abandon the RSA Conference ship in December.

F-Secure is also the only corporate sponsor of the RSA Conference to retract its sponsorship.

"I initially objected to people dropping out of RSA," said Stamos, "because I wanted people to be heard. People who have opinions on the ethical concerns of the security community," are important, he said.

Stamos said that the RSA Conference boycotters will be discussing topics on their planned remarks, but didn't rule out that there may be some changes made to note their boycott.