Please grow up; in the connected world there are very few ogres in caves any more, and they don’t let you ride their trains. The difference between black hats and white hats is a line, and it’s a gray one. But occasionally it gets a little contrast. When you treat the person or organization with a security problem like a victim or an enemy, then you’re the bad guy. You’re basically fucking them over, sometimes hard, sometimes gently, but it’s still a screw job. When you treat them like a partner, then everyone wins. Sure, sometimes they don’t want partners, and sometimes you have to go public because they put the rest of the world at risk, but you don’t know that until you try talking to them. Finally I should note that in the end the only people winning in this case are the lawyers; the kids won’t win in the way they want, nor will the MBTA. The lawyers, on the other hand, always get paid
The announcement brings to a close a high profile case that pitted the rights of security researchers to freely discuss their findings against the concerns of one of the country’s largest transit systems, which worried that this type of information could lead to widespread ticket fraud. “I’m really glad to have it behind me. I think this is really what should have happened from the start,” said Zack Anderson, one of the students sued by the MBTA. … The settlement ends the matter in an amicable way. “For professional reasons and for public interest reasons, the students wanted to help the MBTA,” said Jennifer Granick, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation who represents the students. The case against the three was finally settled on Oct. 7, but this was not publicly announced until Monday, because it took two months for all parties to schedule a public announcement of the settlement, Granick said. The researchers met with MBTA technical staff on Oct. 21 to discuss their findings and are working to improve the transit authority’s fare collection system, she added.
And all is good in the world again.