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This congressman tried to recruit hackers for government work


DEF CON is America's biggest annual hacker convention, where lock picking and breaking into cars with laptops is encouraged.

So why is a congressman a regular attendee among these security line-steppers? This particular member of the IT House subcommittee is hoping to hire some of them.

"We’re going to be working on this notion of a cyber national guard," Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) told Circa. "We know there’s not enough talented people to fill jobs in government or industry."

"So if you’re a kid and you want to go to college in cybersecurity, we can get you a scholarship, but then you've got to work in government for, say, four years," Hurd continued.

"The Department of Interior, Department of Homeland Security, at the U.S. Census Bureau – places where we need folks."

Hurd's plan to bring more coders and tech security experts into the government isn't the only tech-angled policy he's pulling for.

He recently unveiled a piece of legislation that would swap out President Trump’s proposed wall along the border with Mexico for a Smart Wall, one that would use “high-tech resources like sensors, radar, LIDAR, fiber optics, drones and cameras” instead of fencing or concrete.

This year’s trip to Las Vegas's DEF CON is Hurd's third. He comes not only to talk about his tech policies, but the ex-undercover CIA agent also likes to blend in and prove to the cybersecurity and hacker communities, who are sometimes frustrated with the federal government, that Congress has some members who are on their side.

"I’m frustrated, too," he explained. "What I want folks to know is that there are a handful of us up in Washington that have a familiarity with this topic and are trying to do the right thing, and if we can start building trust that way, I think it can be a good thing for the federal government and the broader hacker community."

And like most other cybersecurity enthusiasts, Hurd said that he likes to come to the CON to learn new things.

"One thing I’ve learned [this year] is the evolution on connected cars and understanding what some of the security vulnerabilities around that are," he said.

"I think, again, a good reason why I come out to this is because it definitely broadens my horizons and understanding of some of these important issues."

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