Network Security

Pro-bono legal aid in Sin City…for security researchers

Who's protecting Black Hat's researchers from the deep legal pockets of the makers of the very vulnerable technology these hackers seek to expose?

A California-based civil liberties nonprofit known as Electronic Frontier Foundation. And it's been doing so since 2008, when the EFF launched the Coders' Rights Project.

Black Hat has announced that EFF will again be making itself available to discuss talks, pro-bono, with researchers during the show.

From a Wednesday press release:

The Coders' Rights Project protects programmers and developers engaged in cutting-edge exploration of technology. EFF regularly counsels security researchers to help them navigate the legal issues that might impact their work, and in some cases, will contact a software vendor on the researcher's behalf, to allow for anonymity and ensure vulnerabilities are reported quickly and safely.

Researchers often feel the heat from the software and hardware vendors that aren't too pleased to learn that someone is going public with information about their products. (The EFF has come to the aid of security researchers many times in the past, both during Black Hat and DefCon as well as other times during the year).

At Black Hat, attorneys will be on hand to go over vulnerability reporting, copyright law and free speech rights.

"Black Hat's partnership with EFF is of tremendous importance to the core tenants of Black Hat, helping us fulfill the promise of releasing research in an open community environment," said Trey Ford, general manager of Black Hat. "By having EFF on board, Black Hat's speakers can confidently make their presentations, knowing they have full support from a legal perspective. We're extremely grateful to EFF for this invaluable service they are providing to the Black Hat community."

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