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NSA Controversy Continues at RSA 2014, Isn’t Sole Focus

It’s nothing new… RSA has been under the microscope regarding their relationship with the NSA. My colleague Samantha Stenbeck posted a blog this morning recapping yesterday’s opening keynote from RSA Executive Chairman Art Coviello where he addressed the issue (and his comments revved the media engine).

In response, protesters from the activist group CodePink scaled the roof of the Moscone Center and dropped a banner roasting RSA for its work with the NSA. Interestingly, as of this afternoon, the link to the below photo on Twitter, tweeted from @CodePink, is currently the highest trending URL across social media with 296 shares, according to NUVI.

CodePink protests the RSA and NSA (Photo cred: @CodePink)

All over San Francisco, anti-NSA protesters organized counter-conventions, including “TrustyCon,” featuring speakers who cancelled speaking opportunities at RSA in the wake of NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s revelations that RSA had done business with the NSA. Across the street from Moscone, activists have rented out Chevy’s, a go-to restaurant for conference attendees looking for a meal and margarita. According to CNBC’s Eamon Javers, “Robert Imhoff, founder of a hacker security group, raised $7,000 on a crowdfunding website to rent out Chevy’s. He said he wants to inconvenience the attendees to make a point about NSA surveillance.” The activists say they won’t allow anyone into Chevy’s who paid to attend RSA.

As Javers wrote, “Their message: If you support the RSA, no tacos for you.”

On a more serious note, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers is among the ranks at RSA this year. According to the website, “the Committee is the House’s primary panel responsible for authorizing the funding for and overseeing the execution of the intelligence activities of the United States government.” Rogers traveled to the conference to “help make amends with the cybersecurity community,” according to Javers. “The damage is real, and we shouldn’t shy away from that,” the Michigan Republican told Javers. “There’s a lot that this community believes that the National Security Agency of the United States is doing that it’s not doing—and we need to get that fixed.”

While the NSA and RSA controversy rears its head, not everyone is bothered by it. In fact, many attendees are saying the attention has been good for the cybersecurity business.

According to one vendor on the show floor, “The buyers are here. Snowden or no Snowden, CEOs now know they have to have security, so they’re sending people here to buy it.”

We’re continuing to track the conversations and hot topics surrounding the show and will keep you updated along the way.

Photo Cred.: @CodePink

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Brenna Hagy

Brenna Hagy

Senior Account Executive at MSLGROUP

Senior Account Executive at MSLGROUP in Boston, focused on promoting innovative B2B technologies.

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