Crown Sterling Sues Organizer of Black Hat USA Over Sponsorship Agreement Violation

Written by Bill Toulas
Last updated August 26, 2019

Crown Sterling, a California-based cryptography firm that took part in the most recent Black Hat USA, is now suing the organizer of the event, UBM. The reason that is given in the lawsuit that was submitted to the New York District Court is a violation of the sponsorship agreement between the two parties, involving wrongful conduct and actions, as well as a breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The lawsuit also includes one to ten “John Does” who were in the audience at the time of Crown Sterling’s presentation in the aforementioned conference.

Crown Sterling paid UBM $115000 to present hackers at the Black Hat conference with their new product called “TIME AI”, which is promoted by the company as the “next-gen” unbreakable encryption based on quantum technology, polygons, AI-composed music, Fibonacci’s sequence, and many more factors. In the same time, the presentation characterized all methods of standard static encryption as obsolete and essentially insecure. Crown Sterling believes that TIME AI is practically unbreakable, not only by today’s technological standards and resources but by any future tech and intelligence, as it can even auto-adapt to secure itself from unlocking attacks.

These admittedly bold claims haven’t resonated very well with other cryptography experts who attended the Black Hat presentation, and some of them expressed their objection to Crown Sterling’s claims right then and there. Take Dan Guido, CEO of Trail of Bits for example who was removed from the room, Jean-Philippe Aumasson, founder of Teserakt, and Mark Carney, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Leeds. As several hackers booed the Crown Sterling presentation and called TIME-AI “snake oil”, things didn’t go as the cryptography company wanted, as they were severely defamed. They believe that the audience’s response was the natural result of presenting something very innovative to them, and also an expected backlash that comes from competitors in the field who would do anything to stop a disruptive technology from emerging.

Now, the company wants the approval of monetary damage compensation to be determined at the requested trial, and all of the additional relief measures that the court deems just and proper for this case. The “Does” of the audience who booed during the presentation will also face defaming charges. For those who are interested in figuring out whether Crown Sterling’s TIME AI is really "snake oil" or not, I will provide you with the company’s detailed explanation on how quasi-prime encryption works, and on the other side, Mark Carney’s review of this encryption method and its limitations. The conclusions are yours to draw.

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