back to article US denies entry to security researcher

A high profile security researcher has been refused entry to the US on the way to this year's Black Hat security conference over "visa irregularities". Reverse engineer Thomas Dullien (better known by his nom de guerre Halvar Flake), and a long-time fixture of the Black Hat conferences, reports that he was denied entry to the …


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  1. Phillip Williams

    dumbf*c*istan ...

    Seems a less-than-smart move on the part of the country increasingly being heard of as "Dumbf*c*istan"...

    Does the expression "own goal" have meaning in the USofA???

  2. De Saegher

    National security

    They were probably thinking he'd hi-hack the plane. I'm surprised he got away without cavity search. And back to europe, even, not guantanamo? Wowies!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well that is Europe's gain then

    I am not surprised to see this at all, Jesusland seems to think that the entire world wants to get into their country, without realising that almost any place in Europe is a better place to live. Having made the assumption that everybody is from a third world country, as compared to 'the land of the free' and is trying to gain entry they treat everyone like a criminal.

    Of course denying access to train even government employees fits in very well with the sustained attack on anything related to education in America. The dumber your population, the more likely they are to believe Bush and Cheney, believe in creationism, hate and fear Islam when told to and join the NRA.

    I give it less than a decade before rich American families are sending their kids to Venezuela and Cuba for secular education.

  4. amanfromMars Silver badge

    You can take a horse 2h2o.... but h3g3 will make IT Think?

    I think that may show everyone just how vulnerable Uncle Sam is to Intellectual Property Sharing in Virtual Fields.

    And how dumb it must be of them to deny themselves its Benefits which invariably an intellectually challenged mindset will classify as an Attack to disguise their ignorance and lack of preparedness.

    It is as if the Blind were/are leading the Blind to the Light and Colour of their Darkness..... in an Imagination that they cannot Share and Articulate for those with Vision 42 See where they Lead.

    By the way, is that PerlyGatesPython Script, a Full Monty LINQ. .... ... way ahead in the Game ..... Quantum Light Years ahead or just One Small Step for MansKind/Binary Thinkers?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dude, my country sucks ass.


  6. Shoal Creek

    That's OK by me.

    As a U.S. Citizen, I can honestly but sadly say that the less that U.S. Government knows about hacking and cracking, the better. Current U.S. policies and laws are already so oppressive that we don't need them clued in on how to get into people's computers.

  7. Vladimir Plouzhnikov


    There must have been a typo somewhere - surely they meant "Vista irregularity", not "visa"?

  8. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Suck IT and See..... with the HyperVizard Wizard Layer.

    "Current U.S. policies and laws are already so oppressive that we don't need them clued in on how to get into people's computers."

    Shoal Creek,

    But all the dumb smart money is heading for safety into those lands who folk are clued in..... for Money tracks Intelligence tracks Money...... and plucks IT from thin Air/Space, where incidentally S.M.A.R.T. Rules Rule without the Fear of Judgement or Conviction for CyberSpace isn't Real is IT, IT is Virtual......... or is Uncle Sam going to be a Right Silly Prat and make a Claim on Virtual Space 2 whenever that Claim has already been made with this Declaration for ITs Free Dominion and the Free Software Foundation.

    Signed this day 070730..... amfM

    Round Table, White Knights Temporal Territory...... Apache Braves Land when across the Pond.

  9. Dillon Pyron

    Cyber terrorist

    He's a cyber terrorist. He's clearly here to teach terrorists how to crack government systems. I took his seminar three years ago. Feebs, CIA and NSA were the majority. And the rest were fairly well known white hats. Most everybody was a CISSP, which has rather stringent ethics standards associated with it.

    What a crock. Of course, over at DEFCON, you can still learn how to pop a MEDCO lock. And since they aren't getting paid, I know that several non US nationals will be teaching various "dark arts".

    Denied visa waiver? I guess we can keep him out whenever we want. Such a shame, he's a really nice guy.

  10. Matthew Barker

    Mind control helmet

    You can probably most accurately view this country if you see the structure of the government and the corporate aristocracy as a sort of "mind-control helmet" overlaid on an otherwise normal populace.

    Most of the readily available avenues of information in and out of the country (and the public minds), and thus the bulk of the opinions held by the populace, are largely controlled by the corporate media - and the government.

    Those same corporations are now starting to take control of the public schools in order to cultivate compliant corporate citizens (the 3 Cs).

    Marketing rules the US. Long live marketing.

  11. Morely Dotes

    Stupidity is not a foreign policy!

    @ Phillip Williams: 'Does the expression "own goal" have meaning in the USofA???'

    Sounds like a soccer (you'd call it football, but our football is more like rugby for girls) term. Over here, we refer to it as "shooting one's self in the foot."

    So we've got about 17 more months of President Dumfuk; here's hoping the oligarchy chooses a smarter front man next time.

  12. John A Blackley

    Never mind the facts

    As best as I could tell - from a very detail-poor article - the guy in question intended to come to the United States to work for himself and do it on a visa-waiver program (equivalent to a visitor's visa). That's not legal and, therefore, the requirement for an H-1B visa (for those people who intend to seek employment in the United States).

    In addition, "This time around a routine customs search, which prompted questions about the training materials he carried, led to further questions that eventually led to his expulsion." No mention of what the questions were or what the answers were but hey, no matter, it's all a good reason for a round of kneejerk "stupid America" comments.

    Effective or not, at least the United States makes an effort to control who comes into the country.

  13. Paul Wells

    A tourist visa is not a work visa

    He wanted to work in America but didn't have a work visa, so he wasn't allowed in Where's the problem with that?

  14. Mike

    Physically carrying document, not smart

    "Hackers" and other individuals with interesting documents, should know better to carry around documents like that.

    An NRA inspired right wing government has made them so sickly paranoid, that a customs officer can further his/her career by stopping "suspicious" content, and adding it to their portfolio. When you enter, you must not offer anything of value to the customs department. If there's nothing to "take", you'll probably be free to go.

    Try *that* point of view on for size - fits like a glove...

    So why on earth would anyone carry around anything that isn't encrypted the heck out of?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Visa Issues

    I have to agree that it's hard to blame customs for enforcing visa regulations -- he's entitled to present at the conference (if he's not being paid), but not to earn money.

    You would have pretty much the same experience if you told any EU member state officials that while visiting as a tourist here you were intending to pick up some side work as a waiter.

    It's the company and conference that deserve the blame here for failing to ensure that attendees has the proper visas.

  16. Iamfanboy

    happens all the time

    This is a routine thing, actually - you need a work visa to do any work in the US, not a tourist visa.

    This happened to Aurora Snow, the pornstar, if I'm not mistaken. She'd jet over to LA from Britain on a tourist visa, act in a half-dozen porns in a week, then jet back home. After a career that lasted some two years, she got busted by a porn fan and booted back to her home country.

    Was it Aurora Snow? I think it was.

    So aside from the fact that it was a white hat "hacker" *spits to remove taste of word* this story isn't very exceptional from anyone's standpoint.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The same thing happens to tourists in general if they give the 'wrong' answers at immigration.

    On the plus side we know who to congratulate for our innovative immigration policies.

    One question though, which minority do you think will be represented the by the next US President? We probably should have caught up with Britain and India by voting for a woman premier, but at least we can say we're the only country that has allowed retards to be represented by our nations highest office. If that isn't inclusive I don't know what is.

  18. Blain Hamon

    More education!

    "As a U.S. Citizen, I can honestly but sadly say that the less that U.S. Government knows about hacking and cracking, the better"

    A knee-jerk instinct agrees with this, in the line of knowledge is power. But at the same time, I'd argue that the Gov't should know MORE about this. But whom in the Gov't; that's the key.

    What should really be done is not just high-end security training, but a crash-course education in tech in general to elected officials. As funny as it is, Ted "Series of Tubes" Stevens chairs the Commerce Committee. As it's been pointed out, he can steer the course for decisions that not only affect the internet in the US, but because of how intertwined things are (Google, Youtube, Amazon, MSFT, Apple, etc), can affect the internet and global technology as a whole. That's why it's vital that lawmakers have at least a decent grasp on hacking and cracking, which they sadly currently lack.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    honest people are penalized :-(

    His mistake was being honest, telling the customs people what was true ("I will teach a class") instead of what they wanted to hear ("I will attend a conference").

    Most countries require a working (rather than tourist) visa to work there. How many of you have taught a class in another country, or consulted there, or worked at your normal job there (set up a system, pre-sales presentation, business meeting, ....)? Did you obtain a 'working' visa?? Did you tell the customs agent you are 'going to work there for a few days'?

    I feel sorry for him - he was honest, he told the truth, and he is being penalized for it. It's a shame that if he had lied, he would have gotten through without problems.

    And how many of you are now thinking 'next time, I must be very careful answering the agent's questions'? Sad world...

  20. Kamal Hashmi

    Visa Waiver - on business normally OK

    This article does not say exactly why he was refused entry - coming over for business isn't a valid reason as:

    "The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables citizens of participating countries to travel to the U.S. for tourism or business for 90 days or less without obtaining a U.S. visa." -

    So it's definitely possible to go to the US on the visa waiver program on normal business. There may be some restrictions on what kind of business - anyone got any URLs to share on that?

    Also a bit too much knee-jerking going on above - you've got to remember that visa officials vary a lot everywhere. You can get a jobsworth b*stard in the UK as well as the US.

  21. Clovis

    immigration controls

    hard to believe, I know, but the point of immigration controls is actually to prevent the entry of people who don't meet the criteria

    having a valid reason for entry and not getting your paperwork straight shows that you are stupid, not that the immigration officers are vicious nazis

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