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Can hackers and photographers possibly get along?

Aug 01, 20123 mins
Data and Information SecurityIT Leadership

By most accounts, Defcon 20 was a glorious affair full of all the content and camaraderie we’ve come to expect. But no matter how good the event, someone always finds something to grouse about. In this case, some had a problem with photographers. Being one of those photographers, I offer some thoughts.

First, I did not attend the full weekend of Defcon. I did not register to be there, though I did write about some of the talks through advance interviews with the speakers. On Thursday, the day people started heading to the RIO from Caesars Palace and the Artisan — where Black Hat and BSidesLV were held, respectively — I decided to head over and survey the scene.

The line was enormous, so I took a picture and put it in this blog so people would know what they were in for. I noted that people in line were happy, content to just be there talking to old friends. No controversy there.

After taking the second picture with my Android, a guy with an angry face approached me. “Were you just taking pictures of me?” he asked, in a tone that suggested he wanted to slug me. I assured him it was just a couple crowd shots and even showed them to him. He nodded his head ok, said a grumpy thank you and walked away, scowl still etched on his face.

Truthfully, I thought nothing more of it until this morning, when someone on Twitter noted the uptight feelings over pictures and delighted in the irony, since there are cameras everywhere in these monster hotels and casinos.

To that, someone else tweeted about the ridiculousness of people getting uptight about photos. Another person noted that there are rules concerning photo-taking and that this is more about respecting personal wishes than anything else.

I leave you with three thoughts:

–First, if I broke a rule on photo taking, I apologize to the Defcon organizers. I certainly didn’t intend to rock the boat.

–If there is a rule against photos, it strikes me as impossible to enforce. The RIO is a big place and everyone has a camera these days, thanks to smartphones.

–I do agree with those who say we should ask permission if it’s a shot of one person. That’s a simple matter of respect and decency. Crowd shots are another matter.

Carry on.