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Adi Shamir couldn't get US visa to attend RSA Conference named for him

Israeli cybersecurity specialist Shamir is the "S" in RSA. He says he never heard back about his visa application.

Adi Shamir
Adi Shamir
Gabriel Bouys/Getty Images

A co-founder of cybersecurity company RSA who also co-developed its public key cryptography algorithm couldn't make it to the RSA Conference in San Francisco this year. It seems he couldn't get a visa from the US government.

In a video message played at the major cybersecurity gathering, Israeli cryptography expert Adi Shamir -- the "S" in RSA -- said he hadn't received a response to his request for a tourist visa, despite having applied two months ago.

Shamir also suggested that if he, a well-known and award-winning security expert, couldn't get a US visa, then it might be time to rethink where scientific conferences are held.

Shamir is the Borman Professor of Computer Science at Israel's Weizmann Institute. He's well-known for his work on the RSA cryptosystem as well as identity-based cryptography. He's also a regular speaker on the cryptographers panel at the RSA conference each year.

The Department of State declined to comment. Shamir didn't respond to a request for comment.

Some Twitter users are shocked by Shamir's situation, saying it's "unbelievable" he couldn't attend the conference.

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