[Dailydave] Paid-for Vendor talk .... seems legit?

Moxie Marlinspike moxie at thoughtcrime.org
Thu Mar 22 17:20:08 EDT 2012

> On 21.3.2012 15:26, Dave Aitel wrote:
>> Why is it that every conference has gone the full hog and decided 
>> that you must sell keynotes?

As odious as paid keynotes might be, I wonder if this is just a more
direct representation of how all conferences work.  Running a security
conference comes with a certain amount of power; even if they're not
paid, the ability to choose which submitted talks will be given allows
the organizers to define the narrative for what people think is
happening and what's important.

Paid keynotes exemplify an obvious microcosm of how this can play out.
Even when there are no paid keynotes, however, most security conferences
today are put together by organizations or individuals who have a
business stake in the security industry.  So while Immunity might not
accept paid keynotes, it should be no surprise that the types of talks
at Infiltrate are what they are.  That is to say, Infiltrate doesn't
need to accept paid keynotes, because the unpaid talks are already
selected to contribute to Immunity's business.

I fully believe that, within the context that Immunity has identified as
contributing to its success, they will select talks based on technical
content, speaking ability, and prevalence of buffy quotes.  But while
BHEU had a 30 minute commercial for Fortigate, let's not forget that
Infiltrate is in some sense one really big commercial for Immunity.

This isn't to say that I dislike watching the Immunity commercial, or
that I don't appreciate its subtlety, but I think we should be wary of
suggesting that these things are somehow "vendor neutral" or devoid of
vendor influence when the organizers themselves are very often vendors
and yield considerably more influence that a single paid talk ever could.

- moxie


More information about the Dailydave mailing list