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Innovation in Information Security

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Bad Blood Over 'Sponsored' Speaking Positions

Less than a week after appearing at AusCERT 07, one of the invited speakers has published an interesting take on the rise of 'sponsored' speaking engagements and related Information Security conferences (although it does not appear that AusCERT partakes in this).

After being contacted to contribute expert views for a television program, he was surprised to find that he was going to have to pay in order to provide his opinion (a $15,000 USD fee). This isn't the only time that he has been asked to front up fees in order to deliver a presentation at a conference, with at least one 'security conference' requiring payment from presenters in order to fill spots.

This is not limited to conferences, with some traditional printed media only running articles created by experts if the publication receives advertising beyond a certain value (i.e. sponsored editorials).

For professionals working in the field, this practice of paying to present makes it appear that the only information being presented at conferences and in the media (and by certain industry groups) is corporate propaganda. As a result there is a small, but growing, backlash from IT professionals who are frustrated by this practice and the time it takes away from important issues that need coverage.

Some qualified researchers are refusing to submit papers for conferences if they are required to submit fees in order to present, or if they are not provided with free entry to the full conference. Others have just given up on the whole conference process.

31 May 2007

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