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Tuesday, 08 October 2019 11:37

Top speakers disinvited from Melbourne security conference Featured

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Top speakers disinvited from Melbourne security conference Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Two prominent speakers have had their talks cancelled at the ongoing CyberCon conference in Melbourne, which is organised by the Australian Information Security Association and is the largest cyber security event in the country.

Thomas Drake, a well-known whistleblower from the US and a former employee of the NSA, and Melbourne University Professor Dr Suelette Dreyfus, both had their talks cancelled after having been listed on the program as long as 11 months ago.

The Australian Signals Directorate, the local equivalent of America's NSA, and the Australian Cyber Security Centre are both partners of the organiser, the website CSO Online reported.

Drake worked with former NSA technical director William Binney and cryptologist Edward Loomis in the 1990s. They all left the NSA after the 11 September terrorist attacks.

Drake's talk at CyberCon was described as "a provocative peek at the present future of the national security state, encryption and the de-evolution of democracy and the rise of technocracy from both a personal and professional perspective.... His talk directly impacts and implicates information security and the challenges faced by industry in the digital age."

Dr Dreyfus was due to give a talk on the use of secure and anonymous digital dropboxes as a means of fighting corruption.

Both Drake and Dr Dreyfus claimed that the ASD was behind the cancellation of their talks.

iTWire has asked the ASD for comment. There is no media contact provided for the CyberCon conference but iTWire has contacted AISA for comment.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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