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“Can’t stop the signal”
DEF CN is happening one way or another – here is what we are thinking

I am announcing this now because the longer we wait and gather data the harder it will be for everyone to make plans, so we are announcing our intentions to kick things off.

DEF CON 29 will be a hybrid conference, partially in-person, and partially online. DEF CON will not be a “normal” con, but more like DEF CON “Different.” The situation we face this year is unique and will require us to do things differently, simplify our plans, and in a fast-moving environment be flexible to change.

What does DEF CON Different look like?

We plan to REQUIRE wearing masks and being vaccinated to participate in-person. We plan to socially distance seating and tables, and the convention properties will have increased air circulation and filtering. If the law requires us to do something different, we will do whatever the law requires.

For the first time ever, we will have conference pre-registration for the in-person conference. It is simply too risky both from a space planning and financial perspective to try and guess how many people may attend. We need hard numbers to make decisions so we will need people to pre-register. How to do this? We will try and incentivize you. If you pre-register we will be able to ensure you get a real badge and if attendance gets restricted you will know your space is reserved.

We have not selected a registration platform yet, but whatever we pick we want to hold the least amount of PII for the shortest amount of time. Once we know more we will share what will be required and any privacy policies. We expect to open pre-reg by the end of the month.

If you want to remain anonymous and willing to take a risk we will order extra badges for those who show up with cash on-site, but if we guess wrong on quantity you may getting a paper badge and if we are at capacity you could be turned away.

Line Con won’t go away, it will just be different. It will be spaced out and use pre-reg bar codes instead of cash.

To simplify Party planning, we will only organize the Black & White ball, entertainment, and pool parties. We won’t organize all the smaller parties as usual, we don’t have the time or resources this year. That doesn’t mean people can’t do them – just that we can’t.

To stay flexible, we have decided to ask everyone, villages included, to pre-record all talks. Should we have to go full virtual, we won’t have a last-minute disaster of trying to capture the talks. This way DEF CON can release our talks on Twitch like last year.

Should you be in-person and want to give your talk live we can do that, or do Q&A, or remote Q&A. Pre-recording gives us options and allows everyone to see the talks. Yes, DCTV will be happening so you can also watch in your hotel room.

We are assuming a few things:
  • Almost no international attendees will attend in-person. The quarantine times and lower vaccination rates mean it is not very realistic, so we hope they will join us on-line instead.
  • That everyone in our demographic who is capable and wants a vaccination will have gotten one by the end of June.
  • Our in-person attendance will be ¼ to ½ normal, and people will be changing their minds on whether or not to attend right up to the last minute – and that includes people organizing contests, events, and villages.
  • Not all Goons will be there in-person, and many will help out by Gooning virtually.
  • While there will be fewer attendees there will also be fewer villages, contests, and events. It should all balance out so attendees don’t fee like there are a million things to do but not enough people to do them with.
  • There will be hybrid events, where you can participate in-person as well as virtually, but doing this for every event is unfortunately too demanding for many contest and village organizers.
To see what villages and contests are currently planning to participate in-person or virtually only please check out the DEF CON 29 Planning Forums:

We are working with the hotels to better understand the rules for pool parties at night, and we are betting that the Toxic BBQ will be having a rocking year.

For virtual we will reduce the number of rooms on our Discord server to make it easier for people to navigate and participate.

Since last year there are some new features that will make Discord more friendly to large audiences, like the new “Stage Channels”: that we plan to take advantage of.

What is the current lineup of content?
  • As usual we will centralize scheduling of everything we know about into a data feed, and then that feed will populate apps and sites: The Hacker Tracker mobile app, and We also will start including more and more iCal / CalDav files to make adding to your calendar easier than ever.
  • Check out the DEF CON 29 Planning Forums:
  • Check the web site:

So that is it for now.

We will be releasing a more detailed FAQ shortly to help answer questions I didn’t go into here, and you can expect regular posts leading up to the event as we gain more certainty around the rules we will have to comply with.

I hope to see you in-person or virtually! This year will be amazing, one way or another.

The Dark Tangent

Help plan, get involved, or organize your own party:Interested in attending in-person?All things DEF CON