Yesterday I arrived at Caesar’s Palace for CEIC 2014. The primary reason for my trip was to attend a minimum of 10 sessions, requirements for renewing my EnCase Certified Examiner( EnCE) certification. When I went to register and pick up my event badge, I was told there was an error in the system which prevented the folks behind the counter from printing out my badge. As additional staff came by to assist, I was pulled aside and informed that I would not be able to attend the conference.
Their explanation? I work for an organization that is no longer welcome to attend or sponsor CEIC. Even if I were to re-register as an individual and not under my company’s name, I wouldn’t be admitted. Why we aren’t welcome is a mystery to me. The company I work for was recently a platinum and gold sponsor of CEIC in recent years, and my colleagues and I maintain friendships with many individuals at Guidance Software.
The kind folks behind the counter understood the unfair position I was in. Without being able to attend the conference, my EnCE certification would lapse. Every one of those staff members felt for me but had no authority to help. Someone graciously offered to get me in touch with the person in charge of the event, the sole person of authority who could override my “ban.”
While I waited to hear from this person, former colleagues and acquaintances in the industry came by to chat. Their responses to hearing about my registration troubles ranged from wide eyed astonishment to nervous laughter. If this could happen to me, it could happen to them.
No one ever came to speak with me. I waited in the hall for four hours, when I finally received a text message from an unknown staffer, “I’ve been advised that we can’t allow you to attend.” My attempts to text or call the number that contacted me were ignored. I’m appalled that a large, publicly traded company could treat me, one of their users with such disrespect. When a software firm prevents users from maintaining their platform-specific certification, simply because of an affiliation to another software firm in similar areas of expertise, I begin to question their motives, and ultimately, the confidence they have in their own software.