Badge Privacy

Badge Scanning and Your Privacy

Attendee Badge Privacy

Although SC has provided a mechanism for its exhibitors to scan your badge in their booths for many years, this year we are expanding our use of badge scanning to include scanning for conference use as you enter technical sessions, plenaries, tutorials, and other sessions. Since this change involves a limited amount of your information, we thought you’d like to know why we’ve made this shift and what we intend to do with this data.

About the Badge Barcode

All attendee badges this year will include a barcode on the front under your name (see picture). Although the barcode is plainly visible, the data in the barcode on your badge doesn’t contain any personal information about you. The barcode only contains a unique number assigned to each attendee; without access to SC’s registration database, this number doesn’t reveal any information about you – not even your name (of course, anyone can just read your name off your badge!).

There are three scenarios in which your badge may be scanned: when interacting with a vendor on the exhibit floor, when entering an SC13 conference venue (such as a technical paper session or a tutorial), and when entering a workshop held in conjunction with SC13.

Exhibitor Badge Scanning

As has been the case for many years, exhibitors may ask to scan your badge when you interact with them on the exhibit floor. This provides limited personal information to the exhibitor which they may use to follow up with you after the show, or as part of a contest or giveaway in their booth. The following types of information are shared with exhibitors when you provide your badge for scanning:

  • Name
  • Affiliation (company, university, etc.)
  • Email
  • Address
  • Phone
  • Fax

Note that these are the same data items that have been available to exhibitors in previous years; the change this year simply permits you to interact more conveniently with the exhibitors with which you choose to share your data.

Exhibitors are only able to access this data if they have rented an official badge scanner provided by the conference.  If an exhibitor does not rent a scanner from SC13, then no information is shared with the exhibitor, and there is no mechanism to retrieve attendee data from the anonymous ID encoded on each badge without the official badge scanner.

Conference Venue Badge Scanning

New to SC13 is the addition of badge scanning at the entrance to conference events such as technical sessions, tutorials, panels, and so on, as well as workshops held in conjunction with SC13. The conference is using this information to reduce the person effort required to track how many, and what type, of attendees participate in various aspects of the conference. We pledge that this data will only be used by the conference in the aggregate – the conference will not assemble individualized data or conduct analysis of which individuals attend which sessions. For example, the conference will collect data that will allow us to determine:

  • Attendance counts at conference events throughout the week
  • Patterns of attendance that reveal that attendees taking part in Tutorial A were most likely to visit at least 5 paper sessions during the week and the exhibit floor 3 times
  • And so on…

Please note that the conference will not scan badges as attendees leave conference events. This data will be used by future SC conferences to conduct more effective space and session planning that we hope will improve the conference experience for all attendees.