Army Gen. Keith Alexander braved the Black Hat conference crowds about the U.S. National Security Agency's controversial intelligence gathering program called Prism. An important tool, he says, that helped prevent 54 terrorist attacks worldwide.
"There are good reasons why some of the things are classified and why some of the stuff we don't put out there. The reason I'm here is because you might have ideas of how we can do things better. We need to hear those ideas," said Alexander.
"The Black Hat community best understands exactly what the NSA is doing, how they are doing it, whether they are doing a good job and how to do it better," said Trey Ford, general manager for Black Hat.
While most folks took notes on Alexander's comments, others wasted no time in redirecting their attention.
"Little by little, our rights are being taken away and I refuse to have my time wasted to more propaganda," said Tommy Gast, a conference attendee.
"Security as a whole is becoming paramount. With the cyber warfare and everything that is evolving within the industry and the world, security is at the forefront on everyone's mind," said Mike McGilvray, another attendee.
Protecting personal information was the popular discussion on the exhibit hall, which was filled with more than 7,000 attendees this year.
"People are here, because this is where thought and leadership meet. We explore what's on the cutting edge in terms of the problems that security faces," said Chad Pinson, managing director with Stroz Friedberg.
The Black Hat started in 1997, and will return to Las Vegas next year at the Mandalay Bay.
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