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AT&T announced Thursday that it's skipping RSA Conference 2020 next week due to coronavirus concerns. The telecommunications giant's decision brings the total number of exhibitors that have canceled to 13.
SearchSecurity learned of the decision in an email sent by an AT&T spokesperson canceling a planned media briefing.
"We were looking forward to meeting with you next week in San Francisco but have decided not to participate in RSA this year. We'll be in touch soon," the email read.
At approximately the same time, AT&T shared the following statement on Twitter:
"We have decided not to participate in RSA Conference 2020 after careful consideration and discussions. We value our participation in industry events like RSA and greatly support the measures taken by event organizers to protect attendees. But it is our responsibility to safeguard our employees. While we are withdrawing our participation for this year, we look forward to returning next year," it read.
The company had at least one session planned for the event, titled "Fighting Cybercrime and Security Complexity with Managed Security." It featured AT&T Cybersecurity head of evangelism Theresa Lanowitz.
SearchSecurity asked AT&T why they waited until just before the show to pull out, and an AT&T spokesperson reiterated that "the timing reflects our careful consideration and discussions."
RSA also posted an update to its coronavirus page this morning.
"We learned today that AT&T Cybersecurity made the decision to no longer participate in RSA Conference 2020 as a Gold Sponsor. We understand and respect their decision," the update said. "Since our last update, the number of individuals, including those from AT&T Cybersecurity, who have canceled their registration is approximately 1.2 percent of the total number of expected attendees. Also, the total number of exhibitors, including AT&T, that have canceled their participation as a sponsor or exhibitor is thirteen. Six of them are from China; six are from the U.S.A.; and one of them is from Canada."
IBM, a Platinum Sponsor, also dropped out last Friday. RSA did not share the identities of the other 11 companies that have dropped out of RSAC 2020.