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HOPE springs eternal: Hackers convention in NYC 'trying things'

Published time: July 14, 2012 07:12
Edited time: July 14, 2012 14:45

Reuters / Thomas Peter

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The hackers’ conference that once inspired Julian Assange to create WikiLeaks is underway in New York. Though the whistleblower may be waiting in limbo at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, his cause is alive and kicking across the Atlantic.

­Years before WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, there was HOPE (Hackers on Planet Earth). This community’s ninth conference has gathered computer nerds in New York for July 13-15. The biannual event has gathered those concerned who stand against the concealment of vital information from the public.

Hackers come to the conference to discuss various topics, such as freedom on the internet, government surveillance in the web, cases around whistleblowers etc. Naturally, at the conference hackers share their experience on how to hack into systems, reports RT's Marina Portnaya, who is attending the event.

At the last gathering two years ago, Julian Assange was supposed to be the keynote speaker at the Eighth HOPE conference, but had to abstain from participating because of the federal agents awaiting him at the event.

This year, NSA whistleblower William Binney is attending the gathering to deliver one of the keynote speeches of the event. Binney worked for the NSA for 37 years before stepping down and claims the US government’s encroaching surveillance on citizens caused him finally to leave his post. Now he says he wants to make sure that all Americans learn how their privacy is being violated.

“The fundamental thing that is eating away at the real foundation of this country is the spying that is going on internally in the US against our own people,” William Binney told RT. “When you had the freedom to do things you could try things and you felt that this country would like you to try things. And now people are getting the sense that they are spying on us, trying to control us, want us to do certain things and not other things.”

The whistleblower believes that Julian Assange, in some way, provided a good service to Americans “because it is a freedom of information and it makes people in the government accountable for their actions.”

The majority of participants at the Ninth HOPE conference are fierce supporters of the freedom of information. According to Julian Assange, it was the HOPE conference that once inspired him to create WikiLeaks to disclose classified information of governments around the world.

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