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New NSA Spy Allegations May Impact Annual Security Conference in San Francisco

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(Credit: James Martin/CNET)

(Credit: James Martin/CNET)

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SAN JOSE (KCBS) — New allegations stemming from the National Security Agency spy scandal have sparked talk of a boycott for the RSA conference — a major cyber security event that bring thousands of tech experts to San Francisco annually.

RSA, the company that hosts the event, has been recently linked to the NSA in a report from Reuters that alleges the company accepted a $10 million payment from the NSA as part of a secret contract to use encryption software with a “back door” that government spies can use to eavesdrop on secured websites.

RSA, meanwhile, has issued a carefully worded response denying it knowingly weakened the encryption it used in its products.

But Mikko Hypponen, a well respected security researcher announced he is pulling out of RSA’s upcoming conference in San Francisco.

Nicco Mele, a technology and policy expert at the Harvard Kennedy School, said the report is a shocking revelation of the extent of the NSA’s surveillance and its ability to corrupt existing security practices.

“It’s a scary thing to comprehend and I think that as people think about as it sinks in, this boycotting the RSA conference is just the very tip of the iceberg,” he said.

The RSA conference in February draws about 15,000 people each year to San Francisco.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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