According to Reuters, Washington is considering using visa restrictions to prevent Chinese nationals from attending popular summer hacking conferences in Las Vegas as part of a broader effort to curb Chinese cyber espionage.
The official said that Washington could use such visa restrictions and other measures to keep Chinese from attending the August Def Con and Black Hat events to maintain pressure on China after the United States this week charged five Chinese military officers with hacking into U.S. companies to steal trade secrets.
China has denied the charges, saying they were “made up.”
Organizers of the two conferences said they knew nothing about any efforts under consideration by Washington, but that they believed limiting participation from China was a bad idea. Jeff Moss, founder of both Def Con and Black Hat, could not be reached, although he posted his thoughts on Twitter: “First I have heard of it, boarding flight to D.C. now. I don’t think it helps build positive community.”
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said visa applications were confidential, but cautioned against drawing a connection between the denials and indictments of the hackers.