back to article Black Hat USA axes anti-abortion congressman as keynote speaker after outcry – and more news from infosec land

Here's a quick roundup of recent infosec news beyond what we've already reported. Black Hat USA cans planned keynote speaker following outcry This year's Black Hat USA has axed keynote speaker US House rep Will Hurd (R-TX) after outcry over his politics and voting record. Attendees and presenters threatened to boycott the …

  1. Nick Kew
    Flame

    This is how Trump got elected.

    The congressman doesn't sound very nice.

    But banning him for his views is far, far worse. Those who do so are surely Trump's recruiting-sergeants, by virtue of their extreme intolerance provoking a backlash.

    1. Reg Reader 1

      Re: This is how Trump got elected.

      Although I understand that argument when does one take a stand and and say to such people your views are ridiculous and you don't deserve a platform which can be used to for self promotion?

      The problem with Trump wasn't that he was denied a platform but that so many media outlets were so fascinated with his idiot speeches that he got a huge platform to promote his lies and idiocy. Sadly, so many Americans have little or no hope of reasonable Government under their existing system and want Governmental change so badly that they voted for Trump. It is my sincere hope that most won't repeat that mistake again. Although, without voting in a real progressive and the Congress and Senate people to support such there won't be any real change. Free market Capitalism has gone well past it zenith. We in the developed economies need a new New Deal (FDR) style of Governance (Social Democracy) to re-balance economies and put money back in the pockets of the populace.

      The worst part of the Trump presidentail administration may be the encumbrance of the Supreme Court with judges who care less about the law than they do their political or religious beliefs. That will hurt America for many years. That will keep American society somewhat destabilized for a long time. Putin has truly won the war. Trump<--Bannon<--Putin

      1. s2bu

        Re: This is how Trump got elected.

        Justices like Scalia, who were constitutionalists, WERE the ones that followed the law and not their political beliefs! You can’t say the same for Sotomeyer.

        The New Deal was a last ditch effort to deal with record unemployment, which ended up mostly failing. We’re in a period of almost record low unemployment, so why would you want to do another New Deal now? That makes ZERO sense!

      2. macjules Silver badge

        Re: This is how Trump got elected.

        It is my sincere hope that most won't repeat that mistake again

        Never, ever underestimate the sheer, bovine stupidity of the collective human mass.

      3. Carpet Deal 'em

        Re: This is how Trump got elected.

        Trump's chances of reelection are going to rather strongly depend on which of the gaggle of candidates wins the Democratic Party nomination. Such a large number makes it very likely a more extreme candidate will get the nod, so it's perfectly possible that he'll still be the better option(if not necessarily a good one).

    2. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      Re: This is how Trump got elected.

      Check how much money a member of congress wants for an appearance and then tell us again how this is suppressing free speech or banning somebody for their opinion.

      I see it as not helping those who want to revert the human race back to the dark ages.

    3. Reg Reader 1

      Re: This is how Trump got elected.

      This is interesting.

      https://www.cbc.ca/radio/thesundayedition/richard-haass-on-how-donald-trump-has-disrupted-u-s-foreign-policy-1.5175556

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Free speech, as long as you agree with my view.

    From the same people that brought you encryption with backdoors.

    :/

    1. Reg Reader 1

      People can hold any view they want, absolutely; but, not all views hold the same weight. Politicians, however, by the very nature and importance of their work need to be held to a higher standard. Politicians should be building legislation on the basis of scientific evidence, historical data and human rights. No Politician should be able to get away with pandering to any groups particular wants or beliefs. Yet, that seems to be all they do now. For instance, here in Canada Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party were in a real race with the NDP. One the NDPs platform promises was to enact Proportional Representation (PR) and that was gaining real traction with us in the populace so the Libs jumped on that bandwagon and that seems to have been enough to swing a lot of people to the Libs. The problem there was the Libs had no intention of enacting PR as it would hurt both their and the Conservative Party's chances of forming single party majority governments and that is not something either of those parties or their main contributors want.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Stop with the "free speech" bullshit. He's not bern arrested, he's not been gagged. Someone has chosen to deinvite him to their party. He can throw his own. Do you allow anyone to preach anything on your property?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Mr

        And if next year, the US Federal Government decides that no federal employee may attend on the taxpayers dime, you shouldn't have a problem with that either. Because that would be one group declining a party invite.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Mr

          Um... Exactly. ... puzzled how you thought that was a "gotcha" response to my post.. i even upvoted you!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      'Free speech' as in: Every Trespassers Right to use 'My Soapbox' as 'Yet Another Platform' for the dissemination of any kind of random, but usually vile, bullshit!?

      Fuck off and get your own soapbox! Get your own damn lawn to put it on too!!

  3. macjules Silver badge
    Holmes

    Ah, the internet ..

    ... where, like arseholes, everyone has an opinion and where everyone insists upon the right to fart in crowds.

  4. Mark 85 Silver badge

    There are now answers to this that will make everyone happy.

    The problem here is single-issue judgments (or even multi-issue judgments) by those self appointed folks who speak out. Some call them SJW's due to their limited view of the world. History tells us that every government leader has had their flaws and in today's political environment they wouldn't have ever been elected. It also tells us that fine people were harassed and prosecuted for lifestyles outside the norm. Think Turing for that.

    Politics is a complex world and any given politician can't please all the people, all time, Not sure what the answer is but where we are now, isn't it. There's so many extreme groups screaming that sometimes, things get lost. Between the far left and the far right there should be room to compromise.

    1. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: There are now answers to this that will make everyone happy.

      Opposing planned parenthood isn't a 'flaw' though. It's an outright attack on 50% of the population.

      I welcome opposing views, if they're sensible and reasonable. His clearly are not.

      1. Nick Kew

        Re: There are now answers to this that will make everyone happy.

        How do you know his views? Have you heard him speak, or are you prejudging based on some report?

      2. s2bu

        Re: There are now answers to this that will make everyone happy.

        You incorrectly assume that:

        - All women are pro-choice, they aren’t.

        - PP is the only place that provides women’s health services, they aren’t.

        - PP is the only place that provides abortions, they aren’t.

        What a lot of people dislike about PP specifically (besides the whole abortion thing) are the various scandals they’ve been involved with, plus the fact that they’ve become a huge donation funnel for the Democratic Party.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There are now answers to this that will make everyone happy.

        PP’s founder Margaret Sanger was an outright racist who saw abortion as a tool for exterminating blacks. By supporting her legacy you support her viewpoint.

        See how that works?

        1. hammarbtyp

          Re: There are now answers to this that will make everyone happy.

          "PP’s founder Margaret Sanger was an outright racist who saw abortion as a tool for exterminating blacks."

          No she wasn't, however she was closely associated with some who held those views. As Ellen Chesler put it

          "Margaret Sanger was never herself a racist, but she lived in a profoundly bigoted society, and her failure to repudiate prejudice – especially when it was manifest among proponents of her cause – has haunted her ever since"

          Yes she was a flawed women (she also did not believe in abortion), but there is also a danger in viewing people outside the times she lived (For example George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were slave owners). Before the horrors of WWII and the Nazi's use of eugenics there were many who saw it as a method to provide huge social change. It is is easy in hindsight to blame people for their views.

          None of this however diminishes PP and the work they do that allow women of all social classes to have control over there own lives and bodies

      4. Zoopy

        Re: There are now answers to this that will make everyone happy.

        The debate about abortion is far more complicated than that. I don't understand why you posted such a simplistic, one-sided summary.

        1. BigSLitleP

          Re: There are now answers to this that will make everyone happy.

          Because it isn't more complicated than that. It's a really fscking simple issue. Is it your body? No? Then you shouldn't get a say. Job done, welcome to the rest of the modern world.

          Bloody Americans.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: There are now answers to this that will make everyone happy.

            Well, exactly. A baby has its own DNA and its own heartbeat. So you are arguing that a woman shouldn’t get a say in killing that other person. Probably not the point you intended to make, but you did say it was too complicated.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: There are now answers to this that will make everyone happy.

            Is it your body? No? Then you shouldn't get a say.

            By this argument, both the following ought to apply:

            1 No unborn child should be allowed change their mother's shape/mood/etc unless a mother agrees

            2 No pregnant woman should be allowed to muck about with the enzymes/physical integrity of an unborn child unless said child agrees (impossible, until someone proves in-utero telepathy!)

            These are incompatible (bye-bye humanity!), except for the question of the mother's agreement.

            Since there's no such thing as a 100% certain contraceptive, the only solution I can suggest is for the law to plainly state that unforced intercourse means you've willingly accepted the consequences of interrupted nights and stinky nappies/diapers.

            The next step would be re-educate the general population to stop thinking that sex is "just fun", but that sex is "fun-with-possibility-of-making-babies, are-we-ready for that risk?"

            Maybe in the bond film 007 should get hit with a few hundred paternity cases?

          3. Zoopy

            Re: There are now answers to this that will make everyone happy.

            > It's a really fscking simple issue.

            I wasn't convinced of your argument until you restated it with the additional F-bomb. But now I'm totally on board with your logic! Thanks.

          4. NotBob
            Facepalm

            Re: There are now answers to this that will make everyone happy.

            That's an indefensibly stupid opinion when babies are being killed and you try to defend it by saying "Is it your body? No? Then you shouldn't get a say." It's not the mum's body being killed, it's the baby's. You show your argument and position as baseless and absurd.

            Job done, indeed. Bloody idiots.

      5. nerdbert

        Re: There are now answers to this that will make everyone happy.

        Opposing planned parenthood isn't a 'flaw' though. It's an outright attack on 50% of the population.

        Why are we even arguing this? It's totally tangential to the issue at hand, and if you're willing to drive away an ally on this issue because of his stance on another completely unrelated issue, you're risking your ability to make progress on this one, and to stand any chance of persuading him on the other. You risk becoming the very pure, but exceptionally powerless, Libertarian Party by narrowing your focus to only those who share your beliefs on all issues.

        And yes, this is how you get demagogues like Trump, who are completely unafraid and unashamed at upsetting convention and consensus. When you, yourselves, become demagogues you give rise to such behavior in your opponents.

    2. Nick Kew

      Re: There are now answers to this that will make everyone happy.

      It also tells us that fine people were harassed and prosecuted for lifestyles outside the norm. Think Turing for that.

      Careful with that. The Turing story is classic revisionist history, in that he'd be more harshly treated in Britain today than in his own time. Homosexuality isn't a problem now[1], but a 40-year-old man having his wicked way with teenagers (of either sex) is.

      [1] I'm not clear to what extent it was in his time either: were consenting adult homosexuals actually prosecuted? Britten and Pears were not merely tolerated, they were very highly regarded.

      1. Blazde Bronze badge

        Re: There are now answers to this that will make everyone happy.

        Eh? Yes, consenting adult homosexuals were actually prosecuted, including Turing. You can read his entirely unrevised conviction here: https://www.turing.org.uk/sources/sentence.html

        Prosecutions were in the very low thousands per year because you had to be quite reckless or naive to let the police to gather evidence you committed an act. (Much as say bestiality is difficult to convict today). I imagine you won't find a photograph of Britten and Pears kissing because it could have been used to prosecute them, and they did suffer some harassment. I'm not sure there's any evidence Turing was 'harassed' by the state prior to getting arrested but then he wasn't very openly gay.

        It's certainly not the case today that a 40 year old having consensual sex with a 19 year old (of either sex, and even from a position of trust) would be forced by the courts to choose between prison and chemical castration. A few frowns and mutters from older folk, yes maybe.

    3. Reg Reader 1

      Re: There are now answers to this that will make everyone happy.

      Keep in mind that in society today what is considered the far left is FDR style social democracy which is what built the US economy into the power house that it is. Trump and those of his ilk are moving the US toward the far right which is closer to the oligarchy that FDR style social democracy replaced. I say this with caveat that Trump may be more of a fascist than those who preceded him.

  5. Howard Hanek
    Flame

    Future Reference

    When America finally gets around to burning the books they'll throw him on the pyre too and anyone else they don't 'like'.

  6. Rustbucket

    UK rights advocate co-owns spyware firm

    Typo. It's Yana Peel. not Lana Peel.

  7. ratfox
    Unhappy

    I don't think that the best way to fight a political opinion is to ostracize people who have that opinion. That's how we end in a fragmented society where everybody belongs to a small opinion bubble and refuses to speak to others.

    Making enemies is like casting your garbage in the sea. It will come back one day, smelling worse.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Black Hat black-lists congressman

    What authority does the organizers of this conference have in deciding who gets dis-invited based on their constitutionally protected rights of free speech. Why made them guardians of cultural and political discourse. Please get back to writing buggy code and leave politicals to those more professionally qualified.

    Given the much-needed push for more diversity and inclusion in the worlds of technology and information security

    Why, take a look at any pre-school class, the males kids like playing with toys while the female kids like to play house and organize tea parties. It's to do with one point three million years of evolution.

    1. Halfmad

      Re: Black Hat black-lists congressman

      They don't care. The fact his views on abortion are utterly irrelevant to the conference make no difference either, it's a case of people might get upset. De-platforming has been proven time and again not to work but some can't get their head around it. All it does is make him look like the target of the deranged and irrational, rather than anything to do with his views.

      They'd have been better getting him on and IF he said anything about it whilst there turning up the heat to 11 on him in public. I doubt very much he would have said a thing though, it's a singular issue.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Black Hat black-lists congressman

      What authority does the organizers of this conference have in deciding who gets dis-invited based on their constitutionally protected rights of free speech.

      Its their conference, that's whose authority. Its called free speech, not free platform, and no-one has restricted what this guy can say, only where he can say it.

    3. BigSLitleP

      Re: Black Hat black-lists congressman

      "What authority does the organizers of this conference have in deciding who gets dis-invited"

      They are the organizers of the conference. They are literally the only ones who have the authority. It's a private do. It's the same as me banning anyone from my home if they think abortions should be banned.

      It's a pretty simple concept, i'm worried if it confuses you.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Black Hat black-lists congressman

        > They are the organizers of the conference. They are literally the only ones who have the authority. It's a private do. It's the same as me banning anyone from my home if they think abortions should be banned.

        > It's a pretty simple concept, i'm worried if it confuses you.

        Then it's Political Correctness gone mad. So now we can't work with people unless they unquestionally subscribe to our own particular values. See Big Al's responce below for a clearer description. ref

  9. Big Al 23

    Do I understand correctly?

    We have criminal hackers that are refusing to attend a conference on criminal hacking because they oppose the politics of an elected official? If the Congressional rep. opposed criminal hacking I could understand but when did criminal hackers grow a conscious about diversity, abortion, etc. while supporting their criminal behavior as hackers?

    1. hmv

      Re: Do I understand correctly?

      I suspect you haven't attended many of these things. It's mostly security researchers these days.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Abortion

    A women's ONLY issue.

    It's not for men, especially religious men.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Abortion

      Agreed! And now let's do the same with child support! That's a men's only issue since the woman gets to decide whether to keep the child, the man decides whether to open his wallet! Nobody should be forced to face the consequences of their actions if they don't like them! /s

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Change of venue, perhaps?

    Why are we still holding these things in the US? If I was anyone with even minimal Black Hat credentials, I would stay the hell away from the 'Land of The Free'. All in the personal interest of not going to jail for a million years or bankrupt by legal processing over something that maybe I did or maybe I will be forced into plea-bargaining over because I can't afford to prove in a court of law that I didn't do whatever "They" decided that I did.

    1. hmv

      Re: Change of venue, perhaps?

      Demand?

      And no, they're not all in the US; BlackHat Europe is scheduled for early December and BlackHat Asia is scheduled for 2020 (i.e. the 2019 event occurred in March).

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