Dealing with badge theft

What amazed me most about this post from Bruce Schneier about conference badge security wasn't so much what he had to say, though it's interesting for sure. It's how many other people chimed in on the comments section. Wow, this one hit a lot of hot buttons.

Anyway, the main topic of his post is about what the RSA Conference organizers decided to do when people come up to the reg desk and say their badge was lost or stolen. Basically, they're going to charge close to full admission price to replace it.

Is this really a big issue for people? I know it's a pain to have to re-issue a badge, but how often does it happen, really? As for those who'd steal a badge to get in, well, I guess I've never been to a show quite that hot, but I guess it could happen.

If it was a really big deal for a show I was involved with, though, I don't think I'd shift the burden back on the attendees, especially since I'm one of those attendees who tends to lose badges! If expected losses from badge theft—I see no real money-loser from lost badges, but understand that a stolen one means someone gets in without paying—I'd consider using some kind of smart card that you could deactivate if it was stolen, and have people swipe to get in. It might result in some lines, but after the airport, we're getting used to that.

It's an interesting discussion, at any rate. (Thanks to Maya for the pointer!)

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