Petition: Stephen Colbert, don't speak at the RSA conference



Let him speak. What he says might be surprising, and just the right thing.


Exactly. What would’ve happened if we’d tried to stop him speaking at the White House correspondents’ dinner because of some anti-Bush boycott? Nothing, that’s what would’ve happened. And that would’ve been sad.


It seems to me that a fake TV pundit is precisely the right person to act as keynote speaker for a fake security company.

I think if Colbert speaks at the RSA conference, RSA’s going to regret it a lot more than we do.


I wasn’t expecting to say me too, but, yes, exactly. At this point, I think they would be better off paying him to stay away and not talk about it.


Yeah… umm… this is Stephen Colbert we’re talking about. He’s going to take their money and tear them a new one IMO.


What do you think he is going to do when he speaks, endorse them?
The president of the United States thought it would be safe for him to speak at the National Corespondents dinner.
Really, get out of the way and let this happen!


It remains to be seen if he’ll do the right thing; but I’m inclined to agree that (unlike any of the security experts, crypto people, and similar domain-specific experts, whose presence basically can’t be anything but some amount of endorsement: even if they make some scolding remarks, that’s implicitly ‘well, collaborating with the NSA to compromise your customers was awfully bad manners; but perhaps we can do some token atonement and let byegones be bygones’…) a comedian with a reputation for deadpan skewering of political bizzaro-world might actually be a totally fitting speaker at a pitiful little conference put on by a ‘security’ company now known to have been selling out its own customers, and for peanuts, no less.

Among people with security and cryptographic expertise, I can’t think of any good reason to associate with RSA at this point, and I’d be inclined to think substantially less of anyone who does; but sometimes a farce needs somebody to deliver a few words, and Colbert is a likely candidate.


just to be clear, RSA company has nothing to do with the RSA encryption standard right? my SSH is still a secure shell right?

It’s as secure as it was before the story broke.

my SSH is still a secure shell right?

Of course, implementation is everything, but this might be helpful to you:

(Search the top secret doc above for the term “SSH”)

Let him speak.

No one pushing for this boycott is trying to put a gag on Colbert. Calling for a boycott does not equal silencing speech. Personally, I’d prefer that he boycotts the RSA conference and speaks about it on his show with Cory Doctorow which will get vastly more reach than the RSA conference ever will.

I’m glad there’s people asking Colbert to boycott the NSA RSA conference. The worst that happens is Colbert is made aware of the issues by all these calls for a boycott, shows up anyway and blasts the RSA.

Also, calling for this boycott is already starting to drive discussions all over the Internet and that’s a very good thing. To simply beg Colbert to show up to the RSA conference and tear apart the RSA isn’t going to cut it, IMO.

Boycotts have a long, successful tradition of helping to peacefully overcome civil rights issues. I’d like to see Colbert help to promote and reinvigorate that imperiled tradition.

If he chooses to show up to the RSA conference and blast them there and/or on his own show, you’ll have people like Cory Doctorow to thank who helped bring the issues to his attention in the first place.

Actually, I could even see where Colbert shows up and sarcastically blasts the boycott and then goes on a pseudo pro-RSA rant in the style of his show that shames the RSA. Who knows?

Keep in mind that Boing Boing’s Mark Frauenfelder has already been on the Colbert show multiple times. Maybe it’s time for Colbert to bring on Cory Doctorow to discuss his dastardly, anti-'merica boycott request of the RSA conference?

In other words, there’s plenty more Colbert can do than simply show up to the RSA conference and attack the NSA while leaving the RSA off the hook, and this boycott campaign can get Colbert and us all to do better than that.

If you don’t want to support the boycott. At least please try to get Cory Doctorow on the Colbert show to discuss the RSA, etc.

Here’s how:

There’s some contact info at this Colbert fanpage as well under the section:
“How can I contact stephen colbert?”

And here.


Stephen Colbert is difficult to predict and many find it hard to know where he stands on anything but you might want to trust him with this. Remember him at the White House Correspondents Dinner? He is more than balsey enough to hit hard even on the people paying his wages.

That is what true satire is about after all. Stephen Colbert doesn’t do satire anymore, he is satire.


One thing’s for sure. If he does speak (and why not) then he cannot accept any fees they may push his way. That would be bad manners.

Cory Doctorow, why such nervousness at the prospect of seeing Cobert sign up? Are you afraid of being disappointed by him?

There is no doubt that Colbert is going to light a fire under their asses. He is too smart and way too ballsy (unlike J. Stewart) to get into any sort of venue and not know what it’s about or who he is doing it for and not say anything about it.

Going there will also make the issue much more salient for people who have no idea what the RSA is or what it does or did.

And if, for some reason, he went and did nothing, then … well, fine. In fact, I would welcome it, as we’d know who we’re dealing with.
But considering how he ripped Bush (the then-sitting president of the U.S.) and his goons a new one a few years ago, to their faces, that’s not going to happen.

So, gogo gadget-Colbert!

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This would be perfect… I can totally see it.


It is a pity that only arguments in favor of Cory’s boycott are permitted here.

I actually work in this industry and the issue is a lot more complex. But I’m not going to write out another explanation for Cory to just delete because it doesn’t fit with his ideas.


For a situation so complex, the US Constitution is looking pretty clearly like used toilet paper.


He deleted it? Shame: it seemed to me the best-informed post on here.

As a nonexpert I may not be able to to distinguish true insight from astroturf, but your post contained nothing offensive, just nuance.


Someone deleted the comment.

The people who have signed on so far for his boycott are rather less prominent in the industry than I am. And no, I do not believe that Adam Langley meant to do anything more than make a joke when he said that he was boycotting the Cryptographer’s panel in a tweet.

They will have no difficulty at all filling the speaking slots.

This is our fight, not Cory’s. We are going to decide tactics, not him.

Just exchanged email with Adam, he confirmed that he was invited to speak. I’ll let him explain his reasons himself but I think you will find that they require more than 160 characters.

No response from Cory to my private email yet.

If people do want to boycott a crypto conference, the conference at NIST would be a much better place to make this point. The topic of the NIST conference this year is completely government focused which is not surprising in the circumstances. The NSA screwed them over as well.

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