Anti-Harrassment policies for security conferences, and why they matter

[link farm at bottom of email]

    This is a "feeler" email to see if you'd be interested in
participating in an initiative being led by Bruce Schneier,
Aaron Turner, and myself with support and advice from
the Ada Initiative.

    Briefly, we're motivated by a recent event in which a
female attendee, a speaker, was sexually assaulted at
a computer security conference in Poland. The response
to her complaints was typical, unfortunately, and motivates
us to do something to help raise awareness of this problem.

    I've been a speaker at countless security events in
the last 20 years and have, so far, only seen one at
which an anti-harrassment policy was posted, which
was LOPSA-east 2013. The idea of this initiative is
to publish a statement to the effect that from now on I
will only speak at conferences that have posted
anti-harrassment policy, and include one in their
conference materials. It is a proven fact that raising
awareness regarding such issues does have a
measurable effect and those of us who work
closely with conference organizers are in an ideal
position to offer a gentle nudge early enough in
the process of organizing the conferences where
we speak.

    I wonder if you would be interested in joining us?

    Because there's potential for backlash, please do not
forward this without checking with Aaron, Bruce or myself, first.

Thank you!

Link farm:
- The Ada Initiative - supporting women in open technology
    and culture
- Georgia Weidman's security blog regarding the attack
- Noirin Plunkett on assault at Apachecon
- O'Reilly announces anti-harrassment code of conduct
- Discussion on PZ Myers' Pharyngula blog
- Comparison of attitudes between students enrolled in a
    victimology course as opposed to other courses, showing
    a reduced propensity for victim-blaming

Bellwether Farm, March 10, 2012