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ElcomSoft shies away from Black Hat Europe

Sklyarov casts legal shadow

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Black Hat Europe ElcomSoft, the Russian employer of Dimitri Sklyarov, has cancelled its planned participation in the Black Hat Europe hacking conference, on legal advice.

Sklyarov who helped develop the Advance eBook Processor (an app which busts the access controls on Adobe's eBook reader) was charged in August with five counts of copyright violation under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

In a statement announcing its withdrawal from Europe 2001 Black Hat, ElcomSoft said its first priority has to be its legal defence while charges are pending against the company and its employee.

The fear is that if ElcomSoft were to make a presentation discussing the flaws in digital rights management software, which are the subject of the case against it, this would inflame an already difficult situation.

Sklyarov was arrested and slung into jail in July following a court case instigated by Adobe. The California software company pulled the legal trigger in response to a presentation made by the Russian programmer pointing out the shortcomings of eBook security at this year's Defcon conference in Las Vegas.

Adobe attracted huge opprobrium for its actions, and in the face of a self-inflicted public relations nightmare, quickly withdrew support for prosecution. However, the Department of Justice took the reins. Sklyarov is currently out on bail, pending trial.

ElcomSoft say it regrets the effect the case against it and Sklyarov, which has become a cause celebre among white hat hackers, has had on security research. It looks forward to its participation in future conferences, once the case is behind it. The Russian firm remains dedicated to clearing its name through the legal system. ®

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