The fallout from a report that RSA aided the NSA’s effort to undermine security software continues to reverberate, as a half dozen experts have pulled out of speaking engagements at the upcoming RSA Conference. This is typically a huge annual event that tackles all matter of security topics which will be missing some big names. MIA will be F-Secure’s Chief Research Officer Mikko Hypponen, who got the ball rolling last month when he pulled out in protest over the disclosures.
Since then Taia Global CEO Jeffrey Carr, the ACLU’s Christopher Soghoian and Atredis Partners’ Josh Thomas also cancelled appearances, according to CIO Journal (registration required). Carr took it a step further, promoting a boycott of the event, which is slated to kick off February 24 in San Francisco. Here’s a running tally of folks canceling their RSA talks.
This is just the latest in a series of events that shows how badly Edward Snowden’s disclosures of NSA data gathering practices have dinged U.S. technology companies including Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, who are lobbying the government to change its policies. Steven Levy posted an exhaustive recap of what’s gone down in Wired earlier this week.
What makes the RSA case unique is that, according to Reuters, it had a $10 million contract with the NSA to implement a certain default in its encryption tools, that is now widely thought to have included a backdoor for the NSA. RSA subsequently insisted it had not knowingly included a backdoor in its products, but did not deny taking the NSA’s money to set the default.