You’ve seen or at least heard of Dateline NBC’s series of using hidden cameras to identify and expose sexual predators, right? Well, it appears as though Dateline was working on a new series of hidden camera reporting involving exposing hackers, and unfortunately for them, it turned into “To Catch a Reporter.”
It all started at DEFCON 15, the largest underground hacking convention in the World that took place from August 3–5 in Las Vegas. According to ZDNet, Dateline sent a reporter (Michelle Madigan) who was “trying to do a shock piece for NBC Dateline to show middle America how criminal underground hackers had descended on DEFCON Las Vegas to learn tricks of the trade and how Federal Agents were tracking them down.”
Somehow DEFCON organizers found out what she was up to and asked her on multiple occasions if she wanted official press credentials, and gave her the opportunity to get a press badge. She declined, because the intent was to pose as a casual attender of the conference so she could get confessions on tape with her hidden camera.
In a room filled with attendees, one of the DEFCON staff members stood up to announce a new contest that he said would involve the audience called “spot the undercover reporter.” He explained trust was very important at DEFCON and it came to their attention that a reporter might be there with a hidden camera– not as press– recording people for a piece on hackers. When he announced that the reporter was going to be escorted out, she fled on her own and a herd of DEFCON attendees followed and videotaped her as she walked to her car in “to catch a predator” style.
So here it is, “To Catch a Reporter,” caught on tape: