If at first you don’t succeed, try filing a legal complaint against the conference where you were called out on your bullshit.
So appears to be the thinking of Crown Sterling, a cryptocurrency company whose CEO was heckled at the annual Black Hat security conference and is now pursuing legal action against event organizers. The supposed grievance? Allowing talk attendees to challenge CEO Robert Grant as he tried to pitch them on so-called quasi-prime numbers and “Time AI™.”
Which, according to people who actually understand this stuff, is a joke — a possibly pernicious one at that. In a Twitter exchange with Grant, respected International Computer Science Institute researcher Nicholas Weaver implied the company was comprised of “snake-oil vendors.”
Except I’m not. We in the computer security field really really don’t like frauds and snake-oil vendors, and we make a point of calling them out, ideally in ways that extend beyond our community.
— Nicholas Weaver (@ncweaver) August 10, 2019
This, clearly, did not go over well at Crown Sterling.
“Crown Sterling is an innovative start-up company launching a new product, TIME AI™, which represents a paradigm shift in data encryption,” reads a statement from Crown Sterling COO Joseph Hopkins. “As with any disruptive technology, we anticipated a degree of pushback from industry participants and competitors also attending the conference.”
The company may have anticipated pushback, but it’s clearly unable to take it.
The Crown Sterling statement says the company is going after the company behind Black Hat, UBM LLC, “to remedy Black Hat USA’s breaching its sponsorship agreement with Crown Sterling and the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing arising therefrom, and for other wrongful conduct, actions and omissions.”
We reached out to Black Hat organizer UBM for comment, and a spokesperson replied that “[we] are aware of the press release stating that a complaint has been filed and have no further comment at this time.”
We also hit up Crown Sterling in an attempt to determine just what, exactly, it hopes to get out of this. We received no response as of press time.
Perhaps, however, with the help of its “Time AI™” technology, the company will simply send its CEO back to early August and cancel the talk before it blows up in his face.