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RSA Conference: Speaker Roundup

March 10, 2014
by Jacque Porte
IQM2 Sales & Marketing

Didn’t make it to the RSA Conference this year? IQM2 is here with a roundup of what you need to know from the list of speakers and events.

Andrew France, former Deputy Director of the GCHQ (the UK’s NSA equivalent): France expressed concerns that electronic spying tools used by the US government could end up in the hands of organized criminals and hackers, further eroding Internet security. He warned industry leaders who called for new restrictions and oversight of government activity.

Howard Schmidt, former White House cyber security advisor: Schmidt spoke against the government’s habit of purchasing information about undisclosed holes in software, opining that there will be collateral damage.

Stephen Colbert Delivers Keynote: Colbert delivered the keynote address for the conference despite some controversy. A number of security speakers dropped out of the RSA conference when Reuters reported in December that RSA had an undisclosed $10 million contract with the NSA to build a back door for the government agency into encryption software, but Colbert defended the RSA, reasoning that the company was exonerated by its claim to have promoted the standard two years before the NSA payoff.

Art Coviello, RSA Executive Chairman: Coviello dedicated much of his opening speech to the RSA controversy, implying that the RSA had been misled by individuals at the NSA. He endorsed a recommendation by a White House review panel that the NSA's defensive mission be formally separated from its much larger spying mandate.

David Cowan of Bessemer Venture Partners: The government wasn’t the only point of discussion. Cowan stated that many companies have been lax with their own security.

Scott Charney, Microsoft Corp Vice President: Charney emphasized the importance of international consensus on norms of online behavior.

Trustworthy Technology Conference: At Trustycon, held just a block away from RSA’s event, Department of Homeland Security Advisor Jeff Moss expressed concerns that those wishing to protect their security are running out of options.

Speakers seem to all agree that there is a need for greater cooperation between the private sector and government. The main concerns are protecting buyers from hackers and preventing tech companies from being unwitting conduits for spying.

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