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Clearing up a few points from Valerie and Violet's account of  the situation


Both Valerie Aurora and Violet Blue has posted their recollection of the events that transpired. I didn't want to get into a "he said, she said" game, but here we are. There has been too many inaccuracies in my opinion to remain silent, even at the risk of continuing the drama.


In Valerie's clarification post there are a few things that I have to point out.

  1. In both the original and clarification post, Valerie starts her recollection of the events by say the BSides SF organizer requested the Ada Initiative's advice on the talk. While this is true, that it implies I had originally reached out to her on my own. The omitted information that I feel is pertinent here is that Valerie had sent complaints to co-founders of Secuirty BSides and organizers of various BSides events saying "This is total bullshit even if it somehow ends up giving an anti-rape, pro-consent message. Framing a talk about sex in the vocabulary of computer security does not magically make it on-topic, and it definitely doesn't stop it from being a giant 'You are not welcome or even safe' sign for women." I then replied saying that "I would love to talk to you about this. As I am obviously not a woman, I am lacking a female's perspective on this. It would be really appreciated if you could let me know your thoughts. I am not sure about the exact contents of Violet's talk, but if the past is any indication, it should not alienate women.
  2. Valerie said "At this point, Ian told Valerie that he would cancel the talk if it included discussion of rape, but not otherwise." From my recollection, I told Valerie that I would cancel the talk if it taught people how to date rape someone.
  3. Valerie said "Ian returned a few minutes later and told Valerie that the talk did include discussion of rape, and that Violet Blue had agreed to cancel it." I had returned to tell Valerie that the talk included "discussion of date rape drugs" (not rape), but we're going to cancel it anyway. I did not mention Violet's response or reaction to the situation. 


In Violet's post, she recalled the conversation she had with me after I had talked to Valerie.

  1. Violet had offered alternative solutions to not giving the talk in Track 1 as scheduled, the last being "[m]aybe I can do a video of the talk and BSides can have it as an after-con talk."Then her interpretation of my reaction was, "[t]he way the organizer looked at me, I knew that wouldn’t happen, either." I would like to point out that I am fully in support of making this happen. At the time, I was mentally making sure we would have enough left in the budget to record the talk at a later time. Maybe thats why she thought I was against it. I'm not sure. I have since reached out to Violet about recording her talk so we can put it up on our video site.
  2. At the end of her post, she says "[i]t’s now apparent that Security BSides SF feels my talk was inappropriate for its conference and community." This is not how I or anyone at BSides SF feel. In fact, it is quite the opposite. The reasons I had decided to cancel the talk were a) it was expressed to me that the talk would have a negative effect on many women, and b) Violet had offered to not give the talk in the interest of not causing more problems for me and BSides SF. We donot agree with the Ada Initiative's belief that the discussion of sex at tech conferences is harmful to women.


Lastly, I want to reiterate that this decision was an isolated incident that happened in about 20 mins. There was no deliberation, no discussion, and was definitely not based on any policy. Even if you attribute this decision to BSides SF and myself, I want to stress that it should not be a reflection on any other Security BSides event.








I have been following twitter tonight, read your concerns, and have replied to some of them. A large number of you have requested more information on the events of today. Here are the chain of events from my perspective.


  1. I was cc'ed on an email from @vaurora originally sent to other BSides organizers about the content of @violetblue's talk. She said if I was interested in more information about it, she would be happy to give me her perspective and advice.
  2. I replied and invited her to give me feedback so that I may address any questions or concerns she had.
  3. We talked in person at the conference and @vaurora told me why she thought "this talk is part of a pattern of behavior that results in extremely few women attending BSidesSF".
  4. I spoke with @violetblue about these concerns and she offered to not give the talk to mitigate any unnecessary drama and ill-will towards BSides SF.
  5. I then made the decision to cancel the talk.


In addition there are a few points I wanted to clarify

  1.  I made the decision myself and did not consult anyone except for @vaurora and @violetblue.
  2.  This decision does not reflect any policy of any other BSides conference or any BSides SF in the past.
  3.  No policy on this matter has been set for any future BSides SF. 





As many of you know,  @violetblue's talk today was cancelled because of a serious complaint we had. Many of you have asked for the abstract to her talk. Here it is below:


talk name: sex +/- drugs: known vulns and exploits


talk description:


What drugs do to sexual performance, physiological reaction and pleasure is rarely discussed in - or out of - clinical or academic settings. Yet most people have sex under the influence of something (or many somethings) at some point in their lives. 


In this underground talk, Violet Blue shares what sex-positive doctors, nurses, MFT's, clinic workers and crisis counselors have learned and compiled about the interactions of drugs and sex from over three decades of unofficial curriculum for use in peer-to-peer (and emergency) counseling. Whether you're curious about the effects of caffeine or street drugs on sex, or are the kind of person that keeps your fuzzy handcuffs next to a copy of The Pocket Pharmacopeia, this overview will help you engineer your sex life in our chemical soaked world. Or, it'll at least give you great party conversation fodder. 



I just want to do a quick recap of whats been said on twitter about the situation. I was approached by @vaurora (@adainitiative) about the inappropriate and alienating nature of @violetblue's talk that was scheduled at BSides SF. After listening to @vaurora's concerns, I brought them up with @violetblue and she graciously offered to not speak in the interest of mitigating any unnecessary drama and ill-will towards BSides SF. I then made the call to cancel the talk. I understand this is a very polarizing decision and many of you may be upset, for which I apologize. As an organizer of a conference, the last thing I want is to accept a talk only to later have it pulled. Given the situation at that time, it seemed like the correct call to make. If you have any feedback for me, please @-me on twitter or send me an email and I will do my best to address your concerns.


@verbal, verbal@bsidessf.org






When: Sun-Mon, Feb 24th-25th, 2013

WhereDNA Lounge

375 Eleventh Street 
San Francisco, CA 94103

Contact: @bsidessf

Email: ian@bsidessf.org


Short link for this page: http://bit.ly/BSidesSF


Keynotes by Dan Kaminsky and Josh Corman



  • Sunday: 8:30am - 7:00pm between DNA Lounge and Moscone Center West
  • Monday: 9am - 7:30pm between DNA Lounge and Moscone Center West
  • Monday: 6:00pm - 7:30pm will also stop at 1015 Folsom 



Closing Ceremonies



  • Monday @ 5:30pm 
  • "We Quit" - A Roast of the Infosec Business 


Party on Monday (21+)



We are still looking for more sponsors. For more information, please look at our sponsorship kit. BSides Sponsorship Kit_BSIDESSF2013.pdf and contact ian@bsidessf.org


CFP (Closed)

Call for papers: BSides San Francisco is accepting 50 min talks plus 10 mins Q/A, 30 min talks, classes, workshops, and activities.

Vote for Papers: http://bit.ly/BSFVOTE13


2012 Nov 1st: CFP Open

2013 Dec 31st: CFP Deadline

2013 Jan 18th: Acceptance Notification



We are looking for volunteers to help with the event. If you are interested please fill out the google form at http://bit.ly/BSFCFV13



  • @verbal 
  • @banasidhe
  • @pinoles
  • @jbferland
  • @fionamiller
  • @daravinne


Leading Sponsors




Contributing Sponsors






Supporting Sponsors















Media Partners



Special Thanks To  











Sunday - Feb 24th  Track 1 Track 2 
9AM - 10AM  Coffee / Registration  Coffee / Registration 
9:50AM - 10AM  Opening Remarks   
10AM - 11AM  

Name: Rohyt Belani @PhishMe, Brandon Dunlap @EnergySec

Talk: SCADA Protection: Imminent Phishing Attacks and The U.S. Cyber Strategy

Name: @jimio

Talk: SSL++ : Tales of Transport Layer Security at Twitter


11AM - 12PM 

Name: Adam Kujawa @kujman5000, Jerome Segura @jeromesegura

Talk: “I want my PC back!”: An in-depth look at ransomware

Name: Jasper van Woudenberg

Talk: Why are we still vulnerable to side channel attacks? (and why should I care?)


12PM - 1PM 



1PM - 2PM 

Name: Dr. Jamo Limnéll

Talk: Strategic Cyber Security & Warfare: If We Don’t Get It Right, People Die

Name: Dan Hubbard CTO OpenDNS, Frank Denis, @thinkumbrella

Talk: Building a Security Graph

2PM - 3PM 

Name: Christopher R. Lew, Ph.D

Talk: Chinese Advanced Persistent Threats: Corporate Cyber Espionage Processes and Organizations

Name: Kyle Adams, Chief Software Architect for Mykonos, Juniper Networks @kadams_sec

Talk: Sorry Your Princess is in Another Castle: Intrusion Deception to Protect the Web

3PM - 3:30PM

Name: headhntr (Twitter: @headhntr), Bill Marczak

Talk: Cash Rules Everything Around Me: The Commercialization of Online Spying

Name: Adam J Kujawa @kujman5000

Talk: Press Start: The basics of malware analysis


3:30PM - 4PM

Name: headhntr (Twitter: @headhntr)

Talk: Cash Rules Everything Around Me: The Commercialization of Online Spying

Name: Craig Young, nCircle VERT

Talk: Google-jacking: A review of Google’s 2-Factor Authentication

4PM - 5:00PM

Name: @backtracesec

Talk: RFID Credentials or (Cyber Pearl 9/11 Harbor of DOOM)

Name: chort @chort0

Talk: My First Incident Response Team: DFIR for Beginners

5:00PM - 7PM Keynote: Dan Kaminsky @dakami  



Monday - Feb 25th Track 1  Track 2 
9AM - 10AM  Coffee / Registration  Coffee / Registration 
10AM - 11AM  

Name: Valerie Thomas @hacktress09 and Harry Regan

Talk: All Your Base Still Belong To Us: Physical Penetration Testing Tales From The Trenches

Name: Mike Shema @CodexWebSecurum

Talk: JavaScript Security and HTML5

11AM - 12PM

Name: Andrew Hay, Chief Evangelist at CloudPassage / @andrewsmhay

Talk: Facilitating Fluffy Forensics (a.k.a. Considerations for Cloud Forensics)

Name: Kevin McNamee

Talk: Build your own Android botnet

12PM - 1PM 



1PM - 2PM 

Name: Ed Bellis @ebellis

Talk: Hitting above the Security Mendoza Line

Name: Jason Andress

Talk: An Anti-Forensics Primer

2PM - 3PM

Name: Violet Blue @violetblue

Talk: sex +/- drugs: known vulns and exploits

Name: Dan Kuykendall @dan_kuykendall

Talk: The Pineapple Express: Live mobile application hacking demonstration....A speeding bullet to the mobile backend

3PM - 4PM

Name: Brett Hardin @miscsecurity

Talk: Penetration Testing is Stupid

Name: Chris Bream and Matt Hastings

Talk: Stick Around - Windows Persistence from Weak Sauce to #Winning


4PM - 5:30PM

Keynote: Josh Corman @joshcorman


5:30PM - 7PM

We Quit - A Roast Of The Infosec Industry




Comments (1)

Null said

at 9:04 pm on Oct 22, 2012

Awesome, i was here for a show a month ago, i had no idea b-sides would be here.

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