I thought we were making progress last year, but I may have been mistaken. The RSA Conference is enforcing the non-compete clause in their sponsor and exhibitor agreements, that means a written waiver is required for an RSA Conference sponsor/exhibitor to hold or participate in anything RSAC feels is “competing” within five miles of the RSA Conference (their definition of “competing” is pretty broad, too). Last year they issued waivers for BSidesSF sponsors, but so far this year they are refusing to issue waivers. For more details on this situation, please see this post at Infosec Island.
It would be great if you politely let RSA know that supporting the community is not a bad thing. They really don’t need to feel challenged by a free event drawing a few hundred people next to their commercial event drawing well over 10,000. Don’t go flaming @RSAConference on Twitter or anything like that, but if you are a sponsor/exhibitor, speaker, or attendee- maybe take a minute and let them know how you feel.
I will be speaking at RSA this year, partly because one of the comments we heard last year was that many BSides speakers don’t even submit to RSAC. That seems unlikely to happen again if I have misunderstood RSA’s true attitude towards BSides.
Oh, and if you happen to know anyone who is not exhibiting at RSA who might be interested in sponsoring BSidesSF- you know where to send them.