The Black Hat cybersecurity and hacking conference in Las Vegas this week is swarming with young, tech-savvy geeks, many of whom are devoted to the concept of an open and free Internet.
In other words, many come from much the same demographic and worldview as National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.
That presents a problem for government agencies and corporate security teams, who for years have recruited talented technologists at Black Hat, and its funkier underground cousin, DEF CON, which is also going on in Las Vegas this week.
At both events, there's a strong undercurrent of sympathy for Snowden—and a renewed suspicion of government security types who in the past have been free to wander the halls here and compare notes with the hacker community.
"Never have I seen in the history of our community such tension and stress around what's going on and what's gonna come next," said Jeff Moss, the founder of both Black Hat and DEF CON.
The head of the NSA, Gen. Keith Alexander, came face to face with that tension Wednesday, during his keynote speech at Black Hat. A small number of hecklers interrupted his speech several times, forcing Alexander to respond to their comments.
Defending his agency, Alexander said: "We stand for freedom."
"Bullsh**t!" shouted an audience member.
Later, another heckler shouted that Alexander should read the constitution.
"I have," Alexander replied. "You should, too."