Statement on FIRST events and the US Executive Order on Immigration

The FIRST Board of Directors recognizes and shares the concerns of members and event attendees about recent changes in US immigration policy. We believe global participation is a prerequisite to developing strong and successful responses to internet security issues.

Founded in 1990, the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST) consists of internet security teams from more than 350 corporations, government bodies, universities and other institutions across 76 countries. The premier organization in incident response, it promotes trust and cooperation among computer security incident response teams through events, training and education and working groups. In order to achieve our goal, FIRST organizes events and working groups globally to enable security teams to exchange experiences, jointly develop tools and standards, and to share and resolve common problems.

The FIRST Board of Directors recognizes and shares the concerns of members and event attendees about recent changes in US immigration policy. FIRST meetings take place around the world, with our annual Conference 2017 held in Puerto Rico on US territory. While FIRST does not comment on political issues, these changes significantly affect our goal of bringing together an inclusive community of incident responders. We believe global participation is a prerequisite to developing strong and successful responses to internet security issues.

As FIRST’s annual conference has grown, so has the lead time necessary to secure facilities capable of holding it. Preparations for the Puerto Rico location were made several years ago when there was no obvious indication that policies such as these would be enacted.

We recognize that these policy changes may prevent specific individuals from entering the United States and attending the annual FIRST conference. While, at this time, plans for the upcoming annual conference cannot be changed without incurring significant cost to the organization, FIRST is committed to creating an inclusive community where incident response teams from across the world can participate. The FIRST Board will investigate all appropriate methods of ensuring members and interested parties have the ability to participate, and will consult with outside authorities to safeguard our community’s ability to attend.

Earlier this year, FIRST published a set of event site selection guidelines. These guidelines reflect the previously informal process used by the organization. The ability of our membership and attendees to obtain visas to the host country is, and will continue to be, an important selection guideline. When Puerto Rico was selected, we had no way of foreseeing the current policy changes.

FIRST will strive to make timely and clear information available to members and attendees on the matter. The safety, well-being and privacy of our members are crucial to us as an organization, and to our commitment of furthering incident response.

We will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves and will share more information as we get closer to June. Members and prospective attendees with specific questions and concerns are invited to raise them to the FIRST secretariat via first-sec@first.org.

On behalf of the Board of Directors,

Margrete Raaum Chair, Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST)

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 23:00:00 +0000