Monday, January 27, 2014

What can a small Boycott at Chevy's Really Achieve Against RSA and NSA?

A visiting blog post by Jennifer Imhoff

As you have probably noticed we have been flooding social media with posts about a CrowdTilt to buyout Chevy's during RSA.  We are very close to our goal but with well over 400 "likes" and hundreds of "re-tweets" we are still in danger of not meeting our $7000 goal.  But unless you're familiar with the RSA conference and social patterns of attendees, this CrowdTilt might seem odd.

Just how exactly is buying out a Chevy's restaurant any sort of boycott against RSA, and why should we be boycotting RSA?

At the end of 2013, it was discovered that RSA - one of the most influential computer security firms- had very dramatically changed it's once adversary relation with the National Security Administration (those guys doing the wiretaps) to an almost conspirative one. For a mere $10 million (iPhone apps have cumulatively sold for more), RSA agreed to use an NSA designed formula in the encryption tools they sell knowing full well that the formula - designed to generate random numbers- was deliberately flawed in such a way that the NSA would be able to access any account using it.

This "back door" into our computers, our lives, our privacy is not only completely unwarranted but affecting both our corporate AND PERSONAL computers.

Our privacy was sold out for less than the cost of most luxury homes.

And if your saying to yourself "I've got nothing to hide, so why should I be concerned", then I urge you to read this very well written article by Kurt Opsal from the EFF on how something as simple as a phone log can be detrimental to many lives:

And let us not forget too quickly how this is the same RSA that was hacked by even less trustworthy entity just three years ago. Don't think the NSA is the only one with a backdoor into their networks and tools.

So what does all this have to do with Chevy's?

The RSA conference is held yearly at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The conference which host talks regarding data security as well as a large expo floor that has been a major influence in the business relations of security related companies from networking hardware to mobile security software. The conference hosts hundreds of people from across the nation. These networking opportunities often seek quieter venues offsite to talk more or complete a deal over lunch. However, with being located in the center of the "SOMA" district, dining options that are in walking distance are limited to very high end places with just one exception, Chevy's Grill.

Over the years, Chevy's has quickly become THE place to go for a simple lunch that anyone can order from and where the menu is cheap and the margarita's are strong.  Chevy's has become the unofficial “lobby con” of RSA, an assured place to find a friend amongst the hundreds of suits. And the quickest way to get the attention of all the various business that work with RSA.  We want to buy out the Chevy's so we can restrict the business that day to only those on our list. We want each company representative to walk to the front door because its the only place without a line - the place they have always gone - only to be inconvenienced by being denied access.  When they stop to ask why, our lab coat volunteers will have the opportunity to explain to them why. Making them aware of what RSA has done and how it affects everyone.  

So please, we urge you to support our cause.  If you're not going to RSA your $25 donation will still help.  If you can’t help financially then please re-tweet, re-post, and support us!

Jennifer Imhoff
Vegas 2.0

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