[ISN] NIST Paid $16,500 for Space at Now-Boycotted RSA Conference

http://www.nextgov.com/cybersecurity/2014/01/nist-paid-16500-space-now-boycotted-rsa-conference/76421/ By Aliya Sternstein Nextgov.com Jan. 8, 2014 The National Institute of Standards and Technology purchased a $16,500 booth at an RSA event that technologists are pulling out of in protest of the encryption company’s alleged deal with the National Security Agency to weaken products using a NIST-approved trapdoor. NIST’s entire leadership and management team attended last year’s conference, according to 2013 contracting documents. They “cultivated key relationships with peer-to-peer executives at companies and government agencies,” the documents state. “Our attendance at RSA offered our leadership team to speak on panels that reinforced NIST’s position as a technical thought leader and policy advisor.” As of Tuesday night, at least eight speakers and attendees had cancelled appearances at next month’s event after Reuters first reported that RSA accepted $10 million to make the “Dual Elliptic Curve” the default setting for generating random numbers in a popular encryption product. The report, based on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, said NSA promoted and promulgated a flawed formula for creating the numbers, giving the agency a back door to spy on users. RSA denied designing or enabling back doors into any of its products. NIST bought the exhibitor space last spring from event planning company Nth Degree to use for four days at the annual conference in San Francisco, the documents state. […]