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  • Goons & Counterfeit Badges

    First, I'd like to say that I understand and appreciate all of the hard work that the goons put into making Defcon a fun and safe event. Defcon wouldn't be possible without them. I also understand that they underwent a lot of changes this year and that the design of the badge did not do them any favors this year.

    I made a counterfeit human badge this year after obtaining my legit badge. It was just card stock and hand drawn, but I was kinda proud of it. I wore it on my lanyard around my neck, keeping my actual record on me when in con areas.

    When the first goon noticed it after I had worn it for nearly two days, he called me over, challenged me to produce my real badge, which I did, and then let me be on my way.

    On Saturday night however, as I was leaving the Bally's side of the con, one of the goons at the perimeter noticed it. He called me over and lifted up the paper from around my neck as if to look at it closer. Before I realized what was going on, he tore it from the lanyard and proceeded to rip it up. The more I thought about it and recounted what had happened to friends, the more I felt that he had crossed a line. He had torn something from around my neck and had destroyed my property. If he were a hired security guard he'd have no legal justification to take something of mine.

    I met up with the same goon later and we had a civil discussion about it. While I disagree with some of his justifications for what he did, he did apologize for how it went down and said it could have been handled more professionally, which is why I don't feel the need to name him. He was also completely unaware and disbelieving of the fact that there was an actual badge counterfeiting contest.

    What I'd really like to get out of writing this all up is to know: is there a SOP for how goons are to handle counterfeit badges? If so, how well are they made aware of it and how consistent should enforcement be? And in what situations, if any, is it acceptable for a goon to take the property of a con attendee?

    Thanks and sorry for the wall of text

  • #2
    I apologize for the issue that you had and I’m glad that you and the other staff member were able to work it out amicably. We really try to be there to ensure that you have fun and do so safely.

    That said.

    This is a sticky subject.

    Let’s say for instance you try to get in to a concert with a fake ticket, you would expect security to take and destroy the fake ticket and make you get a real one or leave.

    For the sake of argument say you're at the same concert with a fake backstage pass or a fake staff/security badge, you would expect to get in quite a bit of trouble and possibly potential legal issues.

    For now the policy is that we confiscate all counterfeit badges. Human or staff.

    If you can’t produce your Human conference badge we’ll ask you to leave the conference area to go get it or go to registration to buy one.

    If the counterfeit badge is a non-Human badge (Goon, Contest, Speaker, Press, etc.) that constitutes an escalation of privilege. Because of the seriousness of that (due to the extra access those badges allow including certain potentially off limits or in some cases dangerous areas of the conference and/or hotel) once again we will ask you to hand it over.

    If there is a refusal for those types of badges we have limited options. We can ask you to leave the conference or we can involve hotel Security which could potentially cause the attendee to be escorted from the hotel and in some cases banned from any Caesar’s Property permanently which they take very seriously.

    We recognize and respect that not every situation is the same, for example sometimes a regular badge may have been used to create a staff counterfeit badge or there may have been a significant investment in time and materials. We do not destroy badges like this but instead will hold onto them until after school... I mean DEF CON. If you want your badge back please just ask us after the con has finished but be prepared to show evidence that it is yours. One way to expedite this will be to sign your badge or tag it with a name sticker when you hand it over. We like fun and respect that the majority of attendees want to play this game responsibly.

    We do not like to involve hotel security. We do our best to be a buffer between the attendees and hotel security as they have a lot less tolerance for shenanigans than we are used to at DEF CON. If you’re hurt, drunk, sick, passed out, haven’t had enough sleep, or enough water, we’re usually the first ones there. We’ll do our best to get you the help you need even if it is just to help you get back to your room.

    We know we yell a bit sometimes but usually it’s to make ourselves heard over the din of 1000 people or more. Sometimes, it to clear the way for an emergency. We really do put your safety above our own. As some have mentioned in other posts the average Goon walks 60-100 miles around the hotel/conference area over the 4 days looking for everything from people needing help to escorting VIPs, to looking for objects that may cause someone to fall. We can on occasion get a bit grumpy like everyone else and I’m not going to use that as an excuse. This year for some reason about half of us lost our voice on Thursday and I’m still getting mine back (and I didn’t even yell but once to clear the way for a medical).

    The point is we are there for you guys. Your post is on point and you express valid concerns. I will include it as part of our Post-Con reports that we prepare. If you were bothered by that encounter then I am bothered by it. We will address it.

    Comment


    • #3
      I agree with much of this discussion and would love to chime in with a couple of points. First, a rundown of things I believe on this topic...

      1. the badges this year were making things a LOT harder for the Goons, and we're all sympathetic

      2. counterfeit badges are a really fun part of DEFCON and no one, including DT from what I understand, wants to see that unofficial contest go away

      3. anyone who makes or displays a counterfeit badge should always keep their real badge on them in case of a challenge (in my case, whenever I've participated in making a fake badge, I just opt to wear it along with my real one. often I make a fake one that is outlandishly funny. see here: https://twitter.com/deviantollam/sta...39636089548800)

      4. if you are "caught" with a fake badge, i would agree that the con staff are not out of line asking you to remove or surrender it

      5. destroying someone's property is never cool

      ... that said, here are some more controversial points or positions where I might see some pushback from others, but I'd like to share them, too...

      6. someone merely "wearing" a fake Speaker, Vendor, or even Goon badge does not constitute a privilege escalation in and of itself. that only happens if someone purports to actually BE a speaker, vendor, goon, etc. either by direct action or declaring it verbally, along with the fake badge. if someone is just in the halls, i can't imagine really giving a shit. case in point: you can buy a fake policeman's outfit at a costume store. you can wear it wherever you want. it's not illegal. what IS illegal is (a) claiming you are a police officer or (b) behaving in a way that causes others to clearly think you're a police officer and intentionally not correcting them. (Goons may wish to tell me this is unfair)

      7. if you have a fake badge, i'd strongly recommend you not only mark it as yours, but actually just keep a folded up envelope in your back pocket with your name and contact info on there. best suggestion: USPS tyvek mailer envelope. they are very large (would even hold this year's big badges), they seal, they are virtually indestructible, and they are for all intents and purposes free to get en masse. keep one on you, if a Goon insists on taking your fake badge, drop it in, seal it up, and then the DEF CON policy should be "Goons all surrender their trophy badges to DEF CON Security and DEF CON then makes as much effort as is reasonable for folk to re-collect them after con (best suggestion would be main reg which is right outside of Closing and is not doing a lot much else when the con is over) (attendees may wish to tell me that this is unfair)

      8. some folk may not know, but this year some Goons came into the Tamper Village (which shared a room with us, the Lockpick Village) where the contest was actually taking place and totally removed all the badge fake materials. this meant templates, images, work in progress, etc. people's contest entries were actually taken from them, right there as things were happening. more than anything else, this is totally uncool.

      ... and now, for my full disclosure...

      9. i was happy to have made a pretty fun set of counterfeit badges this year. one was a Goon badge. there's been a long-running joke that, despite being in the Goon Band, i'm the one member who has never been an official Goon for all the years i've been singing with them. (i was only a Goon back at DEF CON 14-16, i believe) this year, that joke was even more comical since i was wearing a fake Goon badge as we set up for the Saturday night show. ChosenOne was working security on the 26th floor, spotted my red badge, and insisted on taking it from me.

      Let's be honest, i had several options at that point. I could have simply ignored the request and went about my business. Yes, Goons can escalate the situation, but let's not kid ourselves into thinking that I would have been ejected or something. I could have personally escalated it right there and maybe another red shirt would have taken my side. After all, i'm a pretty likable guy. ;-)

      Overall, however, I felt that the virtues of gentelmanliness and just taking the higher road were better options. I congratulated him on the catch, handed him the badge along with my card, and asked that he take care of it and see that it could return to me eventually. I spoke with CyberJunky after the con and it's going to be mailed back to me. Was i irked that i didn't have a red badge on my hip during the last-ever Goon Band performance? Yeah. Did i frown when it went down and say "come on, man, are you kidding me?" in the moment? Sure, or something like that.

      Ultimately, however, we have a lot of competing forces at work on this issue and striking the right balance should be our goal here. If nobody's 100% happy in the end, then we've probably hit on the most fair solution. ;-)
      Last edited by Deviant Ollam; August 17, 2015, 21:40.
      "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
      - Trent Reznor

      Comment


      • #4
        Generally speaking if you are walking around being a D8ck, then you should be ejected (and possibly punched.) You do not seem to be a D8ck, just trying to be funny. The volunteers are there to help everyone have a good time in a safe manner. Carry your real badge next to your 'art' badge and move along. The volunteers are there for a couple of days with limited communication on how to deal with D8cks, so they tend to rely on their military and core goon training. In some cases this is not the best way to handle the situation, but then again the attendee should ask themselves why they are doing whatever has angered the red horde. Rarely is it justified.

        Be nice to the Red shirts and they will be nice to you.

        If you are not treated fairly and feel you are not being a D8ck, most red shirts will take you to a superior. Usually. Running around like an idiot is not a suggested configuration at Defcon.

        This message is not official defcon communication.

        Comment


        • #5
          To help clear some things up, I encouraged the creation of the contest as a way to teach people how to counterfeit badges, and then to have them judged by the contest organizers to select the best ones. The winners, and any others, would be shown off in displays to everyone to see how good they were.

          It was not to create mass produced counterfeits.

          Like P33V3 said, a human badge is different than the others, and if you are caught escalating your privileges their might be consequences depending on circumstances. The contest is not there to make the work of Goons harder, it is there to help teach creating and detecting counterfeiting.
          PGP key: dtangent@defcon.org valid 2020 Jan 15, to 2024 Jan 01 Fingerprint: BC5B CD9A C609 1B6B CD81 9636 D7C6 E96C FE66 156A

          Comment


          • #6
            We appreciate your feedback on this, DT, and also the fact that you continue to cultivate an atmosphere of experimentation and learning on topics that other cons probably would never touch at all.

            I am curious, is there any DEF CON statement or position being taken on the matter of the mass confiscation of the contest materials from the Tamper Village while that contest was happening? Was that an official action being carried out by red shirts on behalf of DEF CON management or was that an act of frustration over how difficult it was to track the real vs counterfeit badges this year? (again, i can totally understand the frustration that the Goons were feeling this time around... but a number of us who saw things go down would appreciate knowing if an order was given from the top or if this was just people overwhelmed with frustration on the ground.)
            "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
            - Trent Reznor

            Comment


            • #7
              Stick a piece of masking tape on the badge and write COUNTERFEIT BADGE CONTEST in Sharpie. Then it can be removed for evaluation and judging while still being labeled as not to condone fraud.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by astcell View Post
                Stick a piece of masking tape on the badge and write COUNTERFEIT BADGE CONTEST in Sharpie. Then it can be removed for evaluation and judging while still being labeled as not to condone fraud.
                not a bad idea. i'd get behind that.

                of course there's always the occasional person who claims "oh no, the tape must have fallen off" but yeah... in principle that works well.
                "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
                - Trent Reznor

                Comment


                • #9
                  i'd also support a special Tamper Village lanyard, used as a signal that any badge hanging from it may be fake or otherwise not valid for whatever.
                  "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
                  - Trent Reznor

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    For the ultimate counterfeiting, we can have a DT Lookalike Contest....

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Who makes those movie silicon masks?
                      PGP key: dtangent@defcon.org valid 2020 Jan 15, to 2024 Jan 01 Fingerprint: BC5B CD9A C609 1B6B CD81 9636 D7C6 E96C FE66 156A

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Like this?

                        http://www.spfxmasks.com/

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Having to surrender your badge sounds like fair play to the badge counterfeit competition. I'm sure goons will take proper care, and mail you back your fake.. lol.. You'd either have to be well known or just have a terrible counterfeit for a goon to even notice. To be stopped twice!?!?!? This means your fake was _SO_BAD_ that it was just pissing the goons off. Also if you are making fake badges out in the open, for a competition, and the goons decide to pick you out to have their daily temper tantrum on, that's pretty much your own fault. If I was competing (I didn't because there is no prize), and people were counter fitting badges out in the open, the first thing I would do is play the goons like the puffed up chest attention seeking trying too hard to fit in drama queens they are, and send them your way.

                          Pro Tips: Never talk to a goon. Never let a goon get close. Run away in your black t/cargo shorts/adidas sambas. FACT: A goon can not sprint longer then 20 feet. Shout out to the roof top partiers of the past that have never been caught by one time.

                          Go hard like Ripper and get banned for throwing a payphone in the pool. True faces of Defcon..

                          Just to make it more fair for the goons, here's a recent photo of me:
                          Last edited by Sand; September 5, 2015, 02:38.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Goons have radios and can be found 21 feet apart.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Oui ils ressemblent à Randy d 'Trailer Park Boys' avec chemises rouges. Manger du fromage des hamburgers à l'instar de Randy trop.. Le faux cop insignes qu'ils portent est tout simplement ridicule..

                              Je vais être allés plus vite que vous pouvez dire "un enfant vient de pissé son pantalon baissé ici", mon cher. En outre, votre module vidéo intégré est vieux et cassées.

                              Art vs Science // PARLEZ-VOUS FRANCAIS? (Official Video) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRZ-jLOrFfk

                              Last edited by Sand; September 6, 2015, 12:02.

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