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DefCon: Restraining Order Issued; Talk Cancelled

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Security
Legal

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority filed a suit in federal court on Friday seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent three undergraduate students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from presenting a talk at the DefCon hacker conference this weekend about security vulnerabilities in payment systems used in the Massachusetts mass transit system.

The transit authority, known as the MBTA, is seeking to prevent the students from "publicly stating or indicating" that electronic passenger tickets used on the transit system have been compromised until the MBTA can fix security flaws in the system.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is representing the students. A hearing in the case occurred this morning in Massachusetts and a judge issued the restraining order. Jennifer Granick, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said through a DefCon spokeswoman that EFF advised the students to pull their talk.

Ironically, the document reveals more about the vulnerability in the MTBA system than the slides that the restraining order sought to suppress contain.

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Also: EFF Press Release: MIT Students Gagged by Federal Court Judge

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