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Communications Networking Security Technology

RSA: Ban On Booth Babes Has Been No Big Deal (networkworld.com) 233

netbuzz quotes a report from Network World: In March 2015, RSA Conference organizers made news by contractually insisting that vendors pitch their security wares without the help of "booth babes," a first such ban for the technology industry. Next week's event will be third under the new rules. With the use of "booth babes" long a source of contention -- and some would say embarrassment -- implementation of the ban has gone smoothly, according to RSA. "Overall I would say this has been received well by our exhibitors," says Sandra Toms, vice president and curator of the conference. "Several have thanked us for having a policy." If you compare the policy's contract language in 2015 with the language now used by Toms, you'll notice how much it has evolved and how it has been accepted by various stake-holders. Here's an excerpt from the "short Q&A" between Paul McNamara, news editor for Network World, and Toms: Has there been any need to enforce the code or have all exhibitors complied? "Enforce" always makes it sound like armed guards have come into play and dragged someone off the show floor. We share these guidelines with our exhibitors and we're clear that this is a policy that is expected to be acknowledged and complied with. We take our attendee experience seriously and expect our exhibitors to do the same. If we receive a complaint about a particular exhibitor, we will send someone over to the booth and examine the situation. If the attire matches our dress code, then they can proceed and we can explain to the attendee why that form of dress is allowed. If they are clearly in violation, we will ask them to change. This policy is equally applied to both men and women -- from Sumo wrestlers to scantily clad models.
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RSA: Ban On Booth Babes Has Been No Big Deal

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  • RSA is security and cryptography focused. This rule makes especial sense given that many people are apparently willing to give up sex if it means they won't get hacked http://www.dailydot.com/layer8/password-security-survey/ [dailydot.com].
    • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
      Well it's not working because even if they give up sex, they still get hacked [bankinfosecurity.com].
      • Hmm....

        Won't someone PLEASE think of the poor booth babes now out of work???

        Seriously....so, this is now a war on the good looking females that model and made some good side money, perhaps even a living for events like this?

        I guess if you're in shape, attractive...no one cares if you lose your job, eh?

        Political correctness takes its toll again.

        • Yeah that's it....the question should be asked is WHY THE FUCK DO YOU NEED THAT? This isn't a gamer conference. This is a security conference. So you would expect a professional atmosphere. Moron .
          • Yeah that's it....the question should be asked is WHY THE FUCK DO YOU NEED THAT? This isn't a gamer conference. This is a security conference. So you would expect a professional atmosphere. Moron .

            Well, lessee....I'd dare say *most* of the audience and attendees are male.

            Males generally like looking at pretty women.

            This will attract them to your booth....and there you go.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "Enforce makes it sound like an armed guards have come into play"

      right after

      "if we receive a complaint we'll send someone over and if they are in violation we'll ask them to change or leave"

      So.. yes... ENFORCED.

      How long do you think this round of tedious moral busy-bodying and policing is going to last?
      .

    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      Yes, it's security focused.
      I would think that sex is one of many ways that are being used to circumvent security. It can be an effective means of social engineering.

      In my opinion, it may be relevant to have a Mata Hari at your booth, if what you have is focused on awareness or at thwarting or discovering seductive attacks.
      Or, hand all the attendants a username and password on day one, to be used on the last day. And hire a few escorts, and at the last day of the conference, disclose how many attendant pas

  • ...babes! (the Russian Space Agency, not quite so much)
  • Alternative to ban (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 )

    Just have booth babes of both genders. Equal Opportunity Oogling.

  • That's the breast... I mean best they can do?

  • aliteration is always admired
  • "a first such ban for the technology industry"

    PAX has had such a ban since at least 2012. Unless video and computer games no longer count as technology!?

    • by Chas ( 5144 )

      No. Because it's a general gaming/geek culture convention. And not just for computers or focusing on the actual, underlying technology products in said games.

  • by ghoul ( 157158 ) on Thursday February 09, 2017 @07:36PM (#53835761)

    "No babes for you"

    For the script kiddies its a Seinfeld reference

  • Geeks repellant! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rockmuelle ( 575982 ) on Thursday February 09, 2017 @07:38PM (#53835767)

    So, at the more hardcore geek conference (Supercomputing comes to mind), there has never really been an issue with booth babes for a simple reason: geeks are scared to talk to them. Every now and then a company will hire one, only to see a nice exclusion zone form around their booth. Sure, sales guys from other booths will stop by, but none of the intended audience will risk talking with an attractive female.

    • by Chas ( 5144 )

      It depends.

      Up until a few years ago, gaming cons were like that too. But as these things grow, that sort of thing falls away and the audience gets more diverse.

      Now we have creepy stalker-types coming in too as they think it's a target-rich environment.

      One of our demo agents (who could definitely fit the description of "babe") has had an especially annoying stalker pestering her at several conventions. As a result, we generally have several large and/or burly security types hanging out to offer assistance

    • Not just afraid, perhaps. What would a geek talk with her about? I just don't see the intersection of conversation topics.
    • Are you sure it's not a case of geeks being scared of a company that resorts to tactics like booth babes?

      I find it interesting that while many people here are discussing the shallow nature of "babes" who may not have any knowledge of the company product, you're upholding the stereotype that geeks are too timid and antisocial to talk to women.

      • It may not be "fear" so much as simple disinterest.

        As a hypothetical attendee, the booth babe is paid to talk to me. I am aware of this. She doesn't care about me. Talking to an attractive woman is of no interest to me. There's no way I'm charming enough for her to be interested in me. I may have a wife/gf that I'm loyal to. So from a personal level, there's nothing in it for me.

        Professionally, I may be interested in the product. The product I want is dull and worthy Trying to make it "fun" makes it le
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      I've seen the occasional guy summon up the courage to talk to the booth babes, and it's usually pretty creepy. Asking for photos is the worst... I can just imagine them back in the hotel room with a laptop, pants around their ankles... ugh.

  • by Ed Tice ( 3732157 ) on Thursday February 09, 2017 @08:03PM (#53835883)
    A ban on booth babes would mean that the people in the booth are there because they have knowledge and information to offer rather than for their attractiveness. The summary makes it sound like the booth babes just wear more clothes, but they are still booth babes. Their primary purpose is to look nice and then refer people to those with actual knowledge. It's a sales tactic that seems to work but the push back against booth babes is that people want to be valued for their humanity rather than their sexuality. Of course this is somewhat of a case of being careful what you wish for. As somebody who has been said to "look like he knows what he's talking about" I can say that I wouldn't mind being valued as a sexual object but that's somewhat of a digression.
  • by The New Guy 2.0 ( 3497907 ) on Thursday February 09, 2017 @08:13PM (#53835941)

    If there's a booth babe wearing little compared to man wearing a suit and tie a few feet away... what temperature do you set the thermostat to? This resembles a problem found on most dance floors including high school proms...

    • by erice ( 13380 )

      If there's a booth babe wearing little compared to man wearing a suit and tie a few feet away.

      [scans booth babe] "Hmm. Cold in here, isn't it? :-)"

      Probably not the problem that you think, albeit not so pleasant for the booth babe. 'Ever stumble on one of those "out take" segments from swimsuit modelling? Complaining about the cold seems to be a common thing.

    • Set it to a temperature that's comfortable to her. He's going to sweat either way, anyway.

  • What next segregated booths?
    Fichu with a brand on it to cover shoulders?
    A policy on berthas and bolero styles? On that lappet or more guidance on the use of a modesty piece?
    Everyone gets the same color of Zhongshan suit?
    Or just go full bee keep suit?
    • Of course segregated booths. The blacks don't feel comfortable under barrage of technical questions by whites.

      They are doing this with dorms already. Black-only dorm, on request of black students.

  • I gotta say to my younger geeks: "I'm so sorry dude, you missed out".

    Then again, times change, my daughter is past the booth babe age but I would have hated for her to do that.

    / went to telemetry conferences in the 80s, the booth babes were awesome (I was in my 20s)
    // went to more mainstream conferences in the 90s, booth babes still awesome but as I had a daughter kinda awkward
    /// hit a couple CES and CTIA conferences in the 00's, booth babes same age as my daughter. awkward.
    //// haven't been t
  • Load up your spank-bank from the internet like the rest of us! Yeesh, what'd we invent the internet for, anyway?
  • I don't often comment to or about how my co-workers look or don't look. I will break this rule now.

    I work with some ladies that are simply DROP DEAD GORGEOUS. Off hand, there are easily two dozen. Of course, all of my co-workers are beautiful people, just not with movie star looks.

    And all of them, every last one, is as at least as smart as I am and I think smarter. I'm no slouch but I know a quality mind when I meet one, and everyone, man, woman, or wookie, are top flight minds. Not to say there aren't a fe

  • After all, they are now out of a job and probably have do some worse job instead. A great win indeed.

  • And the only thing achieved was removing some jobs for women in the IT.

  • Let them appeal to the Tumblr/Twitter crowd, I'm sure they all license RSA crypto.

    PGP forever!

  • Our nation has people with many different lifestyles. I dislike the notion that we must always show deference to the more conservative types. I see nothing wrong with having string bikini models passing out literature or answering quotations about a product. Nudity or near nudity should not upset anyone including young children. I doubt that many people have not had a toddler walk by a TV when a very graphic scene was on the screen. the young ones show very little interest and don't appear to even no
    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      There's prudes, and there's people that just think it's the wrong time, place and use of money.
      If I'm paying for someone's product I really don't want the price bumped up because they forked out on sending people to a conference where all those people did was stare at strippers that don't strip. It's unprofessional as hell and nothing to do with prudishness or whatever.
  • So, no displaying excessive cleavage - I can accept that, but I have to note, there's no such thing as excessive cleavage :P However, no miniskirts, minidresses or shorts? I mean come on, we're not living in the Victorian era anymore. Enough is enough. You could just hand out large sacks at the entrance and mandate wearing them.
  • ...I thought the goal was to have "more women in tech"?

    I'm going to guess that whereas the humanity within conventions was 80/20 male/female, it's probably dropped to 90/10 or further.

  • > If the attire matches our dress code, then they can proceed and we can explain to the attendee why that form of dress is allowed. If they are clearly in violation, we will ask them to change.

    Basic message: you are not allowed to dress whatever you want in the West, unless you belong to a very particular religious group. In that case, heavens forbid if anyone tells you how to dress or you will feel the wrath of the SJWs.

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