Jennifer Granick, Civil Liberties Directory at the Electronic Frontier Foundation is putting together a “Grey Hat” guide for security researchers. The problem, says Granick, is that the law has been a real obstacle to solving vulnerabilities.
The muddy nature of the laws that regulate computers and code, coupled with a series of abusive lawsuits, gives researchers real reason to worry that they might be sued if they publish their research or go straight to the affected vendor. By reporting the security flaw, the researcher reveals that she may have committed unlawful activity, which might invite a lawsuit or criminal investigation. On the other hand, withholding information means a potentially serious security flaw may go unremedied.
The guide seems to be a work-in-progress and Granick has solicited constructive feedback.