USENIX Association Promotes Academic Freedom

Fully supports authors of academic paper barred from publication at 22nd USENIX Security Symposium

Berkeley, Calif., July 31, 2013 — In keeping with its commitment to academic freedom and open access to research, the USENIX Association announced today that Roel Verdult, lead author of the academic paper, “Dismantling Megamos Crypto: Wirelessly Lockpicking a Vehicle Immobilizer,” will deliver a presentation at the 22nd USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security '13). The High Court of Justice in the United Kingdom recently imposed an injunction prohibiting the authors, their institutions, and anyone who assists them, from publishing key sections of the paper, which was scheduled to appear in the proceedings of the Symposium. The Symposium will take place August 14-16, 2013, in Washington, D.C.

The academic paper, authored by Flavio Garcia of the University of Birmingham, Verdult of Radboud University Nijmegen, and Baris Ege also of Radboud University Nijmegen, exposes certain weaknesses in Megamos Crypto, the algorithm-based security system used in many luxury cars that unlocks the vehicle by validating an owner’s car key. In response to the injunction, the authors withdrew their paper from formal publication in the USENIX Security ’13 proceedings. USENIX, as an organization dedicated to providing an unbiased forum for information dissemination, applauds Verdult’s decision to speak at the conference despite the paper not being published.

“USENIX continues its long-standing tradition of offering an unbiased open forum for presenting leading-edge research,” said Casey Henderson, Co-Executive Director of the USENIX Association. “We look forward to Roel’s talk.”

USENIX will offer for purchase live streaming of the USENIX Security ’13 track that features the session including Verdult’s presentation. Per USENIX’s Open Access Policy, the recording of the video stream will be available for free to the general public following the event.

Recognizing the importance of the issue at hand, the  co-located 2013 USENIX Hot Topics in Security Summit (HotSec '13) will also feature an interactive discussion on "Balancing Academic Freedom and Responsibility in Security Research."  HotSec ’13 will take place on August 13, 2013, in Washington, D.C.

About the USENIX Association

USENIX is the Advanced Computing Systems Association. For over 35 years, it has been the leading community for engineers, system administrators, scientists, and technicians working on the cutting edge of the computing world. USENIX conferences are the essential meeting grounds for the presentation and discussion of technical advances in all aspects of computing systems. USENIX is the only organization of its kind that supports entirely open access to research. For more information about the USENIX Association and to support our efforts, visit

Wendy Grubow
River Meadow Communications

Wednesday, July 31, 2013