Melber, based in Melbourne, Australia, has unloaded two speakers – Suelette Dreyfus and Thomas Drake. Dreyfus was to talk about technologies for whistleblowers, Drake was planning a talk on state surveillance. The outreach was carried out by the Australian Cyber Security Center (ACSC), which co-organized the conference.
According to their own statements, eleven months ago both lecturers were promised that they could give their lectures. The cancellation, however, took place shortly before the conference, which took place this week from 7 to 9 October. The unloaded speakers have information about their lectures on one Website compiled,
Lecture on Australian Cryptography Act should be changed
According to one Article of the Guardian The ACSC apparently also tried to influence the content in another talk about the Australian Cryptography Act. However, the lecturer Ted Ringrose refused to adapt his presentation, and was allowed to hold it anyway.
The cryptographer Bruce Schneier, who was also invited as speaker at the conference, criticized the Decision in his blog, In his presentation, Schneier also referred to the website of the two expatriates. Overall, the incident should ensure that content gets more attention, as Schneier pointed out.
The ACSC is an Australian Government agency responsible for IT security, similar to the German BSI. The ACSC has close ties with Australian intelligence agencies, such as sharing the building with the intelligence agency ASIO and reporting to the Australian Surveillance Authority.