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RSA Conference 2017, which is less than two weeks away, has not been affected by President Trump's recent executive order banning entry to the U.S. by citizens of seven Middle Eastern nations.
"RSA Conference has not been impacted by the recent travel ban," an RSA Conference spokesperson told SearchSecurity. The conference has not said what steps it will take, if any, in cases where registered attendees are unable to enter the U.S. because of Trump's executive order.
The executive order's restriction on travel prohibits visitors, refugees and legal U.S. residents from seven predominantly Muslim nations from entering the U.S. Those nations include Libya, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.
Other conferences and organizations have responded to the executive order in recent days. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) slammed the travel restrictions and said it would reconsider all future meetings and events in the U.S.
"We believe that internet protocols develop best when people of many backgrounds can offer their contributions, and we are negatively impacted by policies that prevent such collaboration," the IETF wrote in a blog post. "Our next meeting is planned for Chicago, and we believe it is too late to change that venue. We recognize, however, that we may have to review our other planned meeting locations when the situation becomes clearer."
The Game Developer Conference, which like RSA Conference will be held at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco next month, issued a statement saying it was "horrified" by Trump's order and offered to refund conference fees for affected attendees.
GDC is a global community - we're horrified by the #MuslimBan. Of course we'll refund affected attendees, and keep fighting for inclusivity.— Official_GDC (@Official_GDC) January 29, 2017
The International Game Developers Association, which partners with GDC and holds its annual meeting at the event, also spoke out against the executive order. The IGDA has several chapters in the Middle Eastern countries, including an "emerging" chapter in Iran. Kate Edwards, executive director of the IGDA, criticized the travel ban in a Tweet.
Per Thorsheim, security researcher and co-founder of PasswordsCon, issued a statement saying he will not attend the event this year, which is scheduled for July 25-26 in Las Vegas. Thorsheim also Tweeted that he believed Trump's order will not only affect other future security conferences but the global infosec industry as well.
Yup. I do think this is going to affect academic & hacker cons, as well as local economies all over the US. Not to mention global infosec.— Per Thorsheim (@thorsheim) January 31, 2017
Trump's executive order has sparked protests in numerous cities and states across the country. One of the supporters of and contributors to the executive order, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.), is keynote speaker at RSA Conference 2017. McCaul, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, reportedly worked with former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) as part of a commission to craft a "Muslim ban" for the Trump administration.
McCaul, who is scheduled to speak on government cybersecurity and nation-state hacking threats at RSA Conference 2017, initially applauded Trump's executive order but in recent days has clarified his position and criticized components of the order.
"In light of the confusion and uncertainty created in the wake of the President's executive order, it is clear adjustments are needed," McCaul said in a statement. "We should not simply turn away individuals who already have lawful U.S. visas or green cards -- like those who have risked their lives serving alongside our forces overseas or who call America their home."
RSA Conference organizers would not comment on how many people are expected to attend this year's show. Recent conferences have seen nearly 40,000 attendees from all over the globe.
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