• United States

Dust-up over Storage Networking World’s RFID tagging of attendees, Part 2

Dec 01, 20054 mins
Data CenterRFID

* More of the e-mail conversation with Storage Networking World’s Ron Milton

Today, we continue relaying an e-mail exchange I had with Ron Milton, executive vice president of Computerworld, the publication that runs Storage Networking World.

A few weeks ago this newsletter published an article in which I called the management of the SNW trade show to task for slipping RFID tags into the badge holders that attendees wore at the show. My feeling was – and still is – that this sort of thing is inappropriate unless the people being tracked are told this is happening.

Here Milton defends his approach.


Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2005 7:56 PM

To: Mike Karp

Subject: Re: Your Article/Newsletter on RFID

Thanks for your note Mike.

Rather than debate the points, I am sure we have already established that we are agreeing to disagree and the benefit to each persons POV is that we may consider a little bit more in the future regarding some relevance to what we are both saying here.

From your POV of not having seen the signs (two displayed on easels as you enter the registration area such that you are forced to traverse them) and one in front of each registration counter (x8 counters), I can’t argue what you didn’t see.

Assumed or implied assent goes two ways, as you are assuming agreement from your readership by virtue of no dissent. In the same manner you assume this, we do opt-ins and advertise accordingly. We had numerous attendees thank us for pointing it out (at the reg counters) and give us the RFID tags back. Opt-out choices are the most traditional online actions. Using that coupled with overt advertising is not a hidden or “sneaky” or “spying” endeavor.

My issue with your column/newsletter is not with your entertaining manner of writing (which I enjoy) but that you chose to assume the negative and infer (dare I say clearly), that we were nothing better than those who spy on others using devious means. When you ask what it is to retract. Your conscience must dictate in that regard.

No one at Computerworld would ever step in the direction you inferred/stated, nor our partners in the SNIA, and our oniste pictures of the registration area (not just the signage pdfs) remain as proof.

I’d like to think that for someone who is as big a fan of SNW as you so state, a little fact-checking or at least confronting me/my staff might have been a good process to follow, as this wasn’t a “beat” story with an urgent online filing deadline, but was a story filed a week+ later, with ample time to consider that there might have been other elements involved.

I am regulary pinged and interviewed by the media to clarify facts and offer opinions while at the event.

On the topic of a common viewpoint from readers and attendees it may be of interest to you that your POV is singular amongst the filed stories from a base of about 100 press/analysts at the event.

My read (as were many that commented to me) on your entertaining story was that we were good fodder to be criticized vs the consideration there might be other good information to dig for. Strange that a little more work in “story-digging” always finds more details. That of course is one man’s opinion, but on behalf of the hard work of Computerworld and SNIA folks that I feel duty-bound to defend the hard work, when they have done nothing wrong.

Happy to have you insert this trail in your blog (in whole/in context).


– Ron

Sent from my Blackberry

We have indeed agreed to disagree. My feelings remain the same: SNW is a fine show, the people associated with SNW are good people, and I shall continue to recommend the show to my readers. But good people sometimes do bad things – or as is the case here, with the best intent good people may do good things badly. And so, hopefully, we all learn and move on.

Flame off.


Remember to send in your suggestions for this year’s storage wish list for Santa. In the best of circumstances the annual wish list can be a useful way to be an activist and let the vendors know what you need. In less positive conditions, it can be a good way to blow off steam.

Also, on Dec. 1, Enterprise Management Associates is conducting its periodic review of IT’s use of automated system and storage management services. We welcome IT personnel to participate in this research. If you are interested in participating in a 10-minute Web survey, please click on either of the two links appearing below after Dec. 1, 2005. Participants will receive a copy of the final report.

The “Automated Storage Management” survey

The “Automated Systems Management” survey