Once again, the internet is torn. Continuing what Edward Snowden started, there are activists and protesters calling for the boycott of one of the biggest annual events in information security. At the time of writing this, 7 speakers have pulled out and the number of cancelled registrants can only be speculated.
But is this really a big deal? Each year, the last week of February is shared between an information security and a mobile conference – one in San Francisco (RSA) and one in Barcelona (Mobile World Congress). When Snowden released his documents, it was revealed that RSA had a secret $10 million contract with the NSA, a contract which has been rumored to included building a backdoor into its BSafe app and weakening its own encryption algorithms. RSA came out with a statement on Dec 22, 2013 saying they had done no such thing.
So do we go or do we boycott and miss out on the most valuable days for social interaction in security? I believe attendees can go without picking a side of the argument – the partnerships and products developed as a result from meetings at this event aren’t worth missing out on.
This show in February is a hub for global information security and technology professionals. Sure, a lot goes on during show hours, but much of the action happens outside of the booths and off the showroom floors. These after-hour events will be going strong.
As a past RSA attendee, I can assure you that some of the best networking happens at the after-hour events. AirPatrol’s CEO, Cleve Adams is speaking on a panel at CyberTech’s Securing the Internet of Things Event at the Terra Gallery on February 24. If you’re interested in a free flowing discussion on some of the most interesting movements in tech such as context-aware mobility, you should come by and check it out. Make sure you say hi to me – I have access passes to the party following the event. See you there!