August 9, 2012 | By Kellie Brownell and Aaron Jue

Thanks for Supporting EFF in Las Vegas and Beyond!

We at the Electronic Frontier Foundation would like to thank everyone who took a moment to support our work this summer with a donation, a kind word, a name drop in your presentation, or a stop at an EFF talk at the Black Hat USA, Security BSidesLV, and DEF CON conferences in Las Vegas. We appreciate you stepping forward to recognize that there is a continuing battle to protect not only Coders' Rights, but online freedom for everyone. It's people like you that are helping EFF stem the tide of eroding civil liberties.

Buzzed for EFF.EFF's online rights defense is largely funded by individuals making modest contributions. We aren't funded by tax dollars or client fees so we mean it when we say that every dollar in our humble donation bucket makes a difference.  This annual Las Vegas excursion is meaningful to us in so many ways.  It's become a tradition for many of you to renew your EFF membership at every DEF CON, pick up the new member swag, or find/create some other creative way to help the cause - like getting your summer mohawk!

The list of EFF supporters and allies in the infosec community is numerous, but we would like to mention a few of the folks who helped make this year so successful:

  • Our D(EFF)CONtest participants, and our contest sponsors and prize donors: DEF CON, Vegas 2.0, Ninja Networks, and iSEC Partners;
  • Artemis for matching donations at our Black Hat booth;
  • A special anonymous donor for matching donations at our BSides LV booth;
  • Vegas 2.0 for launching the annual EFF fundraiser party theSummit and Google's Data Liberation Front for sponsoring their bar;
  • Our Beloved Goons for everything;
  • Ninja Networks for always managing to impress and inspire with their creativity and innovative spirit. Thanks for devising an incentive to donate to EFF, donate blood, and register with Be the Match.
  • Eddie Mize for directing some artwork proceeds to EFF AND for donating original artwork for auction;
  • Chris Hoff and his deliciously charitable FAIL Panel Waffles;
  • Stealth for running the Hackers and Guns firearms training simulation benefitting EFF;
  • The information desk staffers for taking up a collection for us;
  • Hacker Jeopardy for raising money for EFF (what beautiful challenge coins!);
  • Mohawk-Con for jubilantly shaving attendees to support EFF, Hackers for Charity, and local hacker spaces;
  • And Dark Tangent and DEF CON for their perennial support and helping people understand the function we serve for the community.

Just this week DEF CON took the charitable spirit further by making EFF a beneficiary of their name-your-price DCXX musical compliation. We even spotted an Artist Badge auction for EFF!  These are just some of the innovative independent fundraisers that we know about. We are grateful to everyone who found a way to support our work.

General Keith AlexanderThis special DEF CON anniversary included an appearance by National Security Agency chief General Keith Alexander, and we were pleased that attendees took the opportunity to voice their support for our long-running case against the NSA's warrantless surveillance program. Note General Alexander's DEF CON Kids shirt and the lovely logo on his sleeve!  You can see some of our favorite photos from this year on Facebook and Google+.

Donors like you have funded our activism and our work in the courts every day. Thank you for helping us change the game.

* * *

Update 8/16/2012: We have read with a lot of interest Bruce Schneier and Valerie Aurora's thoughtful blog posts and the comments posted there. EFF recognizes that defending rights in the digital world means more than just standing up for abstract principles. It means supporting the users and developers who want to make technology better. EFF wants to do everything in our capacity to ensure that individuals at EFF-related events are respected and protected from harassment.

We appreciate the many individuals who dedicate their time at DEF CON and other conferences to fundraise for EFF. Their contributions are vital to our work. But we are deeply concerned by the reports of harassment and other inappropriate behavior at some EFF-related events. Harassment and assault at events like DEF CON and fundraisers for EFF run contrary to our mission.

We are actively discussing the various things EFF can do to take a leadership role in creating a more welcoming environment for women at DEF CON and all of the conferences we attend. To assist us, we have been working with the Ada Initiative, a non-profit with expertise in supporting women in open technology and culture.

As we work through this process, we encourage anyone to send recommendations and other feedback to kellie@eff.org. Thanks in advance for your help.

Update 8/23/2012: There are a couple of incorrect claims floating around in the midst of this story and we at EFF want to make sure the record is clear.

1) The Summit party is thrown to benefit EFF, not by EFF, and we're grateful to the organizers. There was an incident in 2011, unfortunately, of a guest harassing another guest. We know the woman who was harassed. Here, the co-host of the party talks about what happened and how upset she is that it happened. This incident was the one of the incidents that led to the creation of the color cards this year and we supported that effort too.

2) EFF has never hired any strippers for any party. Period. The two women who we think are being referred to (it's not clear) are longtime Defcon participants who help run the Hacker Jeopardy event. This is a different event from the Summit party. Hacker Jeopardy did donate money to EFF this year, but the event is not run by EFF either, and we understand that these women decided for themselves (as it should be for all women and men) what to wear or not at the event.

3) EFF brings many women to Defcon every year. We're speakers, we work at the booths and we work hard both at the conference and before it to ensure that hackers of all genders are free to hack and speak freely at Defcon and beyond. A safe atmosphere at Defcon -- for everyone -- is important to us. As we mentioned last week, we're working to help ensure that this is the case at Defcon and at every conference we attend.


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