Prof. Adi Shamir from Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, one of the world's leading cryptographers, was denied a visa to enter the US in order to attend a professional conference in San Francisco. Shamir is a regular guest at the conference, which annually discusses the RSA encryption standard.
RSA, the first encryption system invented, is still used extensively in modern information security, computer communications, and ecommerce systems. The name RSA was composed from the names of Ronald Rivest, Adi Shamir, and Leonard Adelman, who first published the algorithm in 1977.
RSA is a public deterministic key encryption system. The idea behind the system is that the sender uses the receiver's public encryption key to encrypt a message to him or her, so that only the receiver can decipher it using the appropriate key.
Shamir was awarded the Israel Prize in computer science and was among the receivers of the Turing Prize in 2002, the most important international prize in computer science.
In a video conference call with participants at the conference he was prevented from attending, Shamir said that if someone like him was unable to obtain a visa to enter the US, it might be time to consider holding scientific conferences elsewhere than in the US. "It might be time to reconsider how and where to hold our scientific conferences," he said.
The reports of the refusal to grant Shamir a visa drew hundreds of responses and sharings on Twitter in which people in the field expressed astonishment and dismay about the event. The Cnet technology website reported that no response from the US State Department was available.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on March 6, 2019
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