The organizers of FRHACK, a french security conference in the making, came up with the idea of the “The Best IT Security Girl of the Year”. If you think I’m being over-sensitive, just look at the picture below and judge for yourself if it is a proper way to encourage women to participate in the field:
To add insult to – well, insult, they threatened a blogger who complained about this with a lawsuit, claiming copyright on the picture, even though it is very unlikely that they themselves own the copyright to it:
Observe the watermark in the lower right corner which says “http://go.funpic.hu” – after a little pocking around on the given site I found the “original” (even though it also probably is a repost from an other source).
Furthermore, they are are silently editing their site to hide their mistakes: their current page says “The Best Woman IT Security Researcher of the year”, even though the Google Cache proofs that they were using the phrase “The Best IT Security Girl of the Year”.
This behavior is contrary to the hacker ethos and is childish at best.
Update: It turns out that the organizers were talking about an other image, which I didn’t see, because they already taken it down. This doesn’t change the situation all that much, since it turns out that they didn’t own the copyright for that image either. They seem to have taken it from here. Also, they seem to have canceled the event entirely, because now it is missing from the page. For reference here is the Google cache, Yahoo cache and Livesearch cache.
Update: I tried to contact the organizers of FRHACK for a statement and if they provide any, I’ll update the blogpost with it. However, they don’t seem to provide much in the way of contact details (as this search reveals). Also an interesting note: they provide different e-mail addresses for paper submissions on the English and on the French version of the site (frhack-cfp[at]ja-psi.com versus cfp[at]frhack.org).