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.
CyberOz memory holes? After acceptance of my talk “The Golden Age of Surveillance” at #cybercon2019 got disinvited as speaker & could only attend as delegate. Informed was “incongruent” w/ conference. Silencing voices in cyber security undercuts democracy. https://t.co/gpeCrmYS5u— Thomas Drake (@Thomas_Drake1) October 7, 2019
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.
11/16 We are now on notice that @CyberGovAU is actively silencing experts from speaking at public conferences it partners in if it doesn't like what you say. #AISA #CyberCon #CensorCon #cyber #infosec #cybersecurity— SueletteD (@SueletteD) October 7, 2019
First they came for the journalists.. then the academics..
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.