July 23, 2001

Sklyarov's DefCon presentation is online; supporter's reputation a 'bonfire'

Author: JT Smith

- by Tina Gasperson -

Mike Crawford gave up the possibility of a good job at Adobe because he believes getting the word out about Dmitry Sklyarov is more important. Crawford says he had just applied for a job as a Photoshop software engineering manager when Sklyarov was arrested by the FBI. "Times have been hard for me and my little family for quite some time,
and that would be a good job for me for which I feel I am quite qualified, but I know it would be wrong to fail to speak out on this abuse of Dmitry's
constitutional rights, and the rights of software engineers everywhere," Crawford writes in an open letter to friends.

He published the letter on his Free Dmitry Web site. There he has also posted a link to download the Power Point version of Sklyarov's recent presentation at DefCon, and another link to Elcomsoft's free trial version of the Advanced eBook Processor -- actions which are sure to be displeasing to a potential employer who wasn't afraid to sic the FBI on anyone daring to point out security flaws in its product.

"Before I wrote in to [Adobe] to say that I didn't want the position anymore, I had got a response. I felt I was a very strong candidate for the job, given my past experience in imaging as well as cross-platform work. So I am very disappointed," Crawford told NewsForge. He says he hasn't heard anything more from Adobe since he published the Free Dmitry Web site, which also advocates boycotts against Adobe.

Crawford is simply staying true to his life's creed, according to a statement at the site. He calls the speech by John J. Chapman, given to the graduating class of Hobart College in 1900, and reprinted in the ClueTrain Manifesto, "words of wisdom I have striven to live by, even since I was a little child." The speech, entitled "Make a Bonfire of Your Reputations," says in part:

"As a practical matter, a mere failure to speak out upon occasions where no statement is asked or
expect from you, and when the utterance of an uncalled for suspicion is odious, will often hold you to a
concurrence in palpable iniquity. Try to raise a voice that will be heard from here to Albany and watch
what comes forward to shut off the sound. It is not a German sergeant, nor a Russian officer of the
precinct. It is a note from a friend of your father's, offering you a place at his office. This is your warning
from the secret police. Why, if you any of young gentleman have a mind to make himself heard a mile off,
you must make a bonfire of your reputations, and a close enemy of most men who would wish you well."

Crawford adds his own thoughts to Chapman's philosophy:

"It has not always been to my advantage to speak out -- far from it, many times I have suffered as a result.

"And there have been many times when I have chosen silence when I knew the right course would be to speak.

"There have been difficult times in my life when I saw injustice and was unable to express myself eloquently so that
those who happened to hear me did not take me seriously. But rather than learn to stay quiet, I have done my best to
speak better, so that my words should have more weight to them.

"I urge you to do the same."


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