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Technology / Cybersecurity

Baseball Cap Triggers Hacker Conference Ructions

A row over a baseball cap triggered a bitter dispute at a hacker conference over the weekend, with 13 leading organisations writing to organisers to complain over their failure to “remove fascist and white nationalist disruptors” from the HOPE 2018 event.

Organisers and security at the biennial Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) conference, were blasted for refusing to expel attendees who had been reported for “intimidation and harassment”, including one reported to have been carrying a concealed weapon.

A letter signed by organisations including the Tor Project and, along with prominent industry journalists Micah Lee and Barrett Brown, painted a picture of a deeply divided event – sponsored by the security hacker magazine 2600: The Hacker Quarterly – in which many felt threatened by some of the other attendees.

An irate hacker ultimately snatched an offending hat of one the attendees, only to have the police called and be expelled, while others complained that event organiser security were supportive of and could be seen out drinking with the offending characters.

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Police Called for Hat Grab

In a joint statement, they said: “On Saturday, 2600 and HOPE Conference organizers refused to remove fascist and white nationalist disruptors from HOPE 2018 — including a man who appeared to be carrying a concealed weapon and who bragged about marching in the #UniteTheRight white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.”

“The fascist attendees menaced other conference goers, cornering them, following them down the street, and threatening them; one even called the police on a conference attendee in retaliation for grabbing his hat. Following numerous complaints, HOPE finally expelled one white nationalist (with a full refund), but allowed all of the other fascists to remain at the conference and intimidate attendees.”

“We can’t ban MAGA hats,” HOPE posted on Twitter. “It’s absurd to think we can. But if people are dumb enough to wear them at our conference, it makes it really easy to keep an eye on what they do. But don’t let yourself be manipulated into giving them control. That’s a big part of their game.”

This article is from the CBROnline archive: some formatting and images may not be present.

CBR Staff Writer

CBR Online legacy content.