A security researcher due to speak at this year's RSA Conference gave the event some free publicity when he was prevented from boarding his flight to get there following a tweet he made about hacking.
Chris Roberts, who is scheduled to present at RSA Conference on Thursday, was denied access to a United Airlines flight to San Francisco on Saturday night ahead of a presentation he is set to give at the IT security extravaganza on Thursday.
Roberts was barred access to the plane because of a tweet he sent days earlier on a previous United Airlines flight, using its on-board Wi-Fi, in which he suggested the airline's on-board systems could be compromised.
Following that flight, the FBI detained Roberts – whose RSA Conference talk will, poignantly, touch on the vulnerabilities of transportation systems – before seizing a number of his electronic devices.
Roberts was able to catch a last-minute flight on another airline but his legal representatives, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EEF), branded United Airlines' refusal to let him travel over the weekend "both disappointing and confusing".
EEF said it has long been concerned that "knee-jerk" responses to legitimate researchers uncovering security flaws can create a "chilling effect" in the infosec community.
"As a member of the security research community, his job is to identify vulnerabilities in networks so that they can be fixed," it said. "Indeed, he was headed to RSA to speak about security vulnerabilities in a talk called 'Security Hopscotch' when attempting to board the United flight."
In a statement to the Associated Press, a United Airlines representative said: "Given Mr Roberts' claims regarding manipulating aircraft systems, we have decided it is in the best interest of our customers and crew members that he not be allowed to fly United. However, we are confident our flight control systems could not be accessed through techniques he described."
Known as the world's biggest IT security extravaganza, with more than 400 exhibitors touting their wares, RSA Conference 2015 kicks off today and will last all week. Last year, the event suffered a partial boycott by speakers over allegations that RSA – which founded the event in 1991 – had been paid by the NSA to insert back doors in its technology.
CRN's Nima Green caught up with Chris Labrey for a quick Q&A at CRN's recent European Channel Leadership Forum
We caught up with the Atea chief exec at CRN's European Channel Leadership Forum in London
Andy Gillett has been appointed GM for the UK and Ireland
UK is one of two countries to see rollout of vendor's newest subscription service