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MIT Tracking Campus Net Connections Since 1999

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the why-assume-otherwise? dept.

Privacy 125

An anonymous reader writes "MIT has been monitoring student internet connections for the past decade without telling them. There is no official policy and no student input." The Tech article says, though, that the record keeping is fairly limited in its scope (connection information is collected, but not the data transferred) and duration (three days, for on-campus connections).

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ntop? (1)

VVelox (819695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27630959)

I am curious as to what exactly was setup. It honestly sounds like they setup ntop, which is something I have some what mixed feelings about, but can be amazingly useful for tracking network health and etc.

Re:ntop? (1)

nicolas.kassis (875270) | more than 5 years ago | (#27633413)

Sounds more like snort. Which frankly, is a good thing for a University to run, maybe they could ignore non-academic/business stuff like dorms.

Re:ntop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27633603)

More than likely they're using Cisco Flow logs. A Cisco router can be configured to broadcast a flow packet to a central data collector. The UDP flow packet has all the connection info, flags, and maybe the first few bytes of data.

We did this at our university for a long while until the traffic got too large to manage. Now we use fiber splits (at strategic points) and a large brother setup to monitor the traffic.

Aside from the paranoia this generates, it _is_ worth its weight in gold from a security standpoint. We usually detect malware or injection attacks before the computer's owner is even aware.

track this: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27631031)

from my ass to your mouth.

Re:track this: (1)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 5 years ago | (#27631689)

This is one of those occasions where it's not ok to go ass to mouth...

What school doesn't? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27631033)

At our university, the lawyers would have a fit if we weren't.

Routine monitoring nothing to worry about (5, Insightful)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 5 years ago | (#27631063)

I'd be very surprised to find a college or ISP that didn't monitor their network in this fashion. Looks like maybe they are keeping DHCP, transparent proxy, and network statistics. Plus they are doing intrusion detection and looking for malicious activity. The good news is that they are not keeping these records long term, but only for a reasonable amount of time. If they are having a problem or suspicious activity then they probably keep it longer. Face it, your internet activities are NOT anonymous no matter how much you'd like it pretend that it is.

I can see the argument that you could in theory back out the web surfing history of a particular mac address.

These are things any self-respecting network should be doing. The issue here is students not realizing that some monitoring and logging is done. I'm willing to bet that consent to monitoring is referenced in an agreement that the students signed, but that the details of the monitoring are not spelled out.

At my work, users sign agreements on acceptable use and consent to monitoring. I only dig into the logs if there is a problem, the IDS flagged something, or an accusation is made. Sometimes the logs prove innocence, btw.

so its ok i put a camera in your car? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27631111)

i just wanted to monitor where you are going and what you are doing. dont worry i delete it after three days. i promise .... ive been doin it for ten years, didnt think you would mind, thats why i didnt ask you. im sorry if you feel 'invadded', clearly its some emotional problem on your part, hysteria or perhaps paranoia. id suggest some anti psychotics.

Re:so its ok i put a camera in your car? (4, Insightful)

sunami (751539) | more than 5 years ago | (#27631263)

The University provides Network access to the students. You do not provide him access to his car. Pick a better metaphor.

Re:so its ok i put a camera in your car? (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 5 years ago | (#27631777)

and they haven't been given access to the car(computer), they have are monitoring the roads (network) that they provide.

the government provides you with the roads - so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27632321)

> Pick a better metaphor.

the students own their computers as we own our cars.
the university provides network access to the students' computers as the government provides roads to our cars.

feel better now?

Re:so its ok i put a camera in your car? (0, Flamebait)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 5 years ago | (#27634113)

We're going to put a camera in your dorm room and floor bathroom to watch everything you do. But don't worry we'll delete it after 3 days.

*I don't actually have a problem with this logging. But you asked for a better metaphor. :D

Re:so its ok i put a camera in your car? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27635423)

Try it on me. Just try it.

You'll be blind before you can say "OMGJESUSTURNOFFTHATTHINGHELPWHATISHEDOING???"

Re:so its ok i put a camera in your car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27631271)

For that analogy to be appropriate to this story, it would work if you were the one leasing the car, and you had the leasee sign a document acknowledging you would monitor the car's usage in an ambiguous manner.

Re:so its ok i put a camera in your car? (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 5 years ago | (#27631545)

i just wanted to monitor where you are going and what you are doing. dont worry i delete it after three days

The car that you're renting me? And that you have the responsibility for maintaining?

Sure. Go ahead. Sounds reasonable to me.

Re:so its ok i put a camera in your car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27631909)

Ok, the home you mortage for, too.

Thank you for your co-operation.

Re:so its ok i put a camera in your car? (1)

Gunstick (312804) | more than 5 years ago | (#27632023)

not a camera but those cars actually may already contain GPS home tracking devices. So when you steal instead of rent the car or when you go missing (tourist getting lost in the desert) the car can be tracked down.

Re:so its ok i put a camera in your car? (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27631733)

His car is private property. Now if you have a little hover camera that follows his car everywhere, that's just fine, since he shouldn't expect anything he does in public to not be logged and cross-referenced extensively. If he doesn't want that, he should avoid doing things in public.

Re:so its ok i put a camera in your car? (2, Informative)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 5 years ago | (#27632205)

This is what happens when someone makes a stupid car analogy on slashdot. Instead of trying ignoring it or steering the subject back to what's actually being discussed... people /extend/ the damned things, making them /worse/! Little hover cameras? Gah!

Re:so its ok i put a camera in your car? (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27632373)

Eh? It wasn't an analogy. I really meant having a hover camera follow his car around (and I'm quite sure there will be such a thing in a few decades, given the direction things are going).

Re:so its ok i put a camera in your car? (4, Funny)

BorgCopyeditor (590345) | more than 5 years ago | (#27632511)

Instead of trying ignoring it or steering the subject back to what's actually being discussed

Ach! I know, I know, they put the pedal to the metal and just keep rolling and won't put the brakes on and finally literally drive the thread into the ground!

Re:so its ok i put a camera in your car? (1)

jabithew (1340853) | more than 5 years ago | (#27634857)

+1 Ironic use of the word 'literally' in an extended metaphor.

Re:so its ok i put a camera in your car? (0, Offtopic)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 5 years ago | (#27633441)

IGNORE ME!

Re:so its ok i put a camera in your car? (1)

Deanalator (806515) | more than 5 years ago | (#27632083)

If you were borrowing my car, you had better believe that I would put a camera in it.

This situation is similar to when someone at my university realised that the unix team has access to unencrypted emails stored on the school email server, which caused a huge uproar in the student media. It's not like they were indexing the data and selling queries to data miners.

Anyone who thinks it's a good idea for admins to completely disable logging really does not understand how all this computer stuff works.

Re:so its ok i put a camera in your car? (1, Insightful)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 5 years ago | (#27632191)

What? Stop with the stupid card analogies. They don't apply here. Let's come up with a better analogy.

It's like... a service provider. Who provides a service. And that service provider monitors the health and usage of their service. And if you don't use their service, it doesn't affect you; while if you do use it, it does.

There. Was that so hard?

Re:so its ok i put a camera in your car? (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 5 years ago | (#27633159)

The data collected would be more analogous to MIT tracking who parks on campus.

3 articles down, California takes DNA on arrest (2, Interesting)

notionalTenacity (1526919) | more than 5 years ago | (#27631381)

I mean, really, while it's wrong that they store the data without telling the users, and while users should have better expectations of privacy, you have to look at this in context. They are only storing the data for 3 days, and it's only the connection details rather than the content. And the context that this is in, on Slashdot, is that a few articles down the FBI and the state of california are going to take and warehouse DNA from people that have not been convicted of a crime. I'm not saying this is inconsequential, but considering what's going on in the world in general, from state bodies, what MIT is doing should probably rank fairly far down the list of things to worry about.

Re:3 articles down, California takes DNA on arrest (2, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 5 years ago | (#27632193)

What is much more interesting about this article, is not so much what MIT are doing with regard to typical network function monitoring, rather than data recording and individually targeted analysis, it is the way people are reacting. There has been a major shift in the general public view of digital privacy and the wild wild west days of invading the privacy of people, psychologically analysing them and personally targeting them with adds to manipulate their choices, is no longer considered acceptable.

So a real push to regaining the privacy of your digital connections, even minor perceived invasions of privacy are now being publicly exposed, derided and demands are being made to eliminate them. Emails as postcards really distasteful and way over the top, privacy invasive social networking sites only use them to create a publicly acceptable facade not for your private life, search recoding and analysis pretty sick and reaching end of acceptable life, complete network monitoring and interpretive analysis over the long term without full legal oversight via the courts will only create a very very angry populace.

It has been really interesting to watch the various changes in a developing industry, things that were once accepted are now considered unacceptable and, some peripheral lessons learned about necessary legislation to control the excesses of avaricious egomaniacal corporate executives will be taken from the financial sector and forcefully applied to the digital sector, expecting some sort of moral limits from corporations is really naive and demonstrably foolish.

Re:3 articles down, California takes DNA on arrest (2, Insightful)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 5 years ago | (#27632217)

hile it's wrong that they store the data without telling the users, and while users should have better expectations of privacy, you have to look at this in context

No, back up. Why is it wrong? THey own the network. They are responsible for the health and maintenance of that network; and further they are responsible for the things people /do/ on that network to some extent.

I agree with looking at this in context/with perspective, but I don't see how what they're doing is in any way wrong.

there was no consent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27631693)

This may be routine, but there are no checks on the monitoring and no information about any of this anywhere.

These policies were not publicized -- that's the problem. Students didn't consent to any of this; they didn't know about any of this.

You can read the policies here:
http://web.mit.edu/ist/topics/policies/index.html

Re:there was no consent (2, Interesting)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27633083)

But any student with an ounce of common sense OR technical knowledge would have assumed they were. I'm surprised their data retention is as limited as it is. Not every single action needs to be spelled out in a contract with the student. The simple fact that the campus OWNS the networks gives them automatically all sorts of rights.

Re:there was no consent (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27633951)

The simple fact that the campus OWNS the networks gives them automatically all sorts of rights.

Not when it infringes on other peoples privacy (no matter how commonly it happens). It has to be spelled out clearly for the students to be aware when they sign an Internet use contract.

Re:Routine monitoring nothing to worry about (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27631717)

I'd be very surprised to find a college or ISP that didn't monitor their network in this fashion.

That's like wondering what sysadmin doesn't want the latest porn of their users.

Re:Routine monitoring nothing to worry about (0)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 5 years ago | (#27632057)

I guess the length of time they keep the records is the most important thing. When I saw the headline I too thought that it wasn't just MIT. The market isn't ready for it yet, but privacy is the next big killer app for the Internet. Whoever solves the privacy problem is going to be very rich.

Re:Routine monitoring nothing to worry about (2, Insightful)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 5 years ago | (#27632127)

Except we have governments actively trying to thwart the notion of privacy with calls like "think of the children" and the "war on terror". We've had data retention laws, illict wiretapping, internet traffic monitoring, etc. Do you honestly think that if someone comes up with a magic solution that the govt won't label it a security threat and somehow ban its use? Or automatically assume it's use involves illegal activities? We already see that with bittorrent.

Re:Routine monitoring nothing to worry about (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 5 years ago | (#27632767)

The gov't developed the Internet, but I don't think they would have done it if they had understood what its impact would be. It is just possible that the significance of the privacy solution won't be recognized until it is too late. I still think there is a bundle of money to be made in privacy.

Re:Routine monitoring nothing to worry about (3, Interesting)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 5 years ago | (#27632989)

I used to work at a small college.. We'd have bandwidth problems, I'd check the logs (ntop is very handy for this) and then look up the IP/MAC. Trace it to the nearest access point, walk into the cafeteria, see two students with laptops out. One of them, sitting far back in the corner so nobody could see their screen..

It would scare the shit out of them when I'd walk up to them and just stay "please stop, or I will have to disable your access until you talk to the director of IT about our acceptable use policy" They could never quite figure out how I knew it was them..

Re:Routine monitoring nothing to worry about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27633549)

Had a similar issue, One user was doing a lot of connections out to this flash game website. An unusual amount of data flows came from that computer. After figuring out what was causing it I never said anything cause it wasn't a danger to the network. One of the tech had to fix some issues on her computer and walking out he mentioned that the gaming website she was on cause a lot of bandwidth use. That freak her out ;p

Now before you flog me for this, no specific data was kept EVER. Only agregates of dataflow (number of packets per second and such) Because of the anomalous conditions I was allowed to sniff for troubleshooting purposes which reveal the destination of the packets. (All legal on most University and business networks). Again no data was kept. This is often required when network devices run amok and cause large amounts of traffic to slow down the network.

Re:Routine monitoring nothing to worry about (1)

PeterKraus (1244558) | more than 5 years ago | (#27634497)

These are things any self-respecting network should be doing. The issue here is students not realizing that some monitoring and logging is done. I'm willing to bet that consent to monitoring is referenced in an agreement that the students signed, but that the details of the monitoring are not spelled out.

Well, well, the problem lies therein. Again, I don't believe that some sort of monitoring clause was not displayed/clicktrough/signed by the students when they first used/signed up for the connection; if it was not, it's not nice. If it was, I don't see absolutely any problem with it.

The Verdict Comes In (-1, Troll)

Not_A_Jew (1363015) | more than 5 years ago | (#27631079)

And this, my friends, is why CalTech is the better of the two institutions of postsecondary education.

Also, the cheerleaders at the Rose Bowl always fall for the frog trick.

Not A Jew

Re:The Verdict Comes In (1)

nicolas.kassis (875270) | more than 5 years ago | (#27633559)

I would venture to guess that they do have logs and snort running somewhere like all other universities of this size.

The problems of not having a policy... (3, Insightful)

KibibyteBrain (1455987) | more than 5 years ago | (#27631095)

Part of the problem with this sort of thing is, with no policy, where do reasonable expectations of privacy for using someone's pipe they've offered you access to begin and end? In general, with no privacy policy, there is no expectation of privacy, unfortunately.

No surprise (1)

mjdrzewi (1477203) | more than 5 years ago | (#27631161)

This doesn't surprise me at all, I don't exactly like it but under stand it. The positive side of this is they are being reasonable on how long they keep the logs. Though if they collect this information the student should made aware of, not just buried in the contract they signed.

whenever we have a story about data retention (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27631201)

or the feds snooping, i am really frankly surprised

you actually want to depend upon the federal government for your security?

you want to depend upon some school, some cable company, some phone company not to snoop on you?

whenever i'm encountered by this strange slashdot groupthink, i really have only one thing to offer: if you put it on a wire, if its outside your control, then the security or privacy of whatever you are doing is nothing you should count on

the outrage seems artifical, contrived, illogical, exasperating

if you want security, if you want privacy DON'T PUT IT ON A WIRE OUTSIDE YOUR CONTROL

beginning and ending of discussion

as if you actually want ot TRUST some other entity to do your security work for you?

hey, how about this: YOU are responsible for your security

you, and you alone

is my pov really that strange?

it seems odd anyone should consider it any other way

Re:whenever we have a story about data retention (3, Insightful)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 5 years ago | (#27631345)

hey, how about this: YOU are responsible for your security
you, and you alone

Except where private ownership of firearms is concerned, though, right?

At least that's the impression I've gotten from your last 5 years' worth of posts on K5.

private ownership of firearms (-1, Offtopic)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27631389)

is something that impinges on my freedom. in the form of assholes walking around with implements of death on my streets

i don't see yokels in the woods with guns as some bastion of protection of democracy. i see yokels in the woods with guns as the soil form which the next fascist will to power rises and seizes civil society

guns do not protect democracy, in a CIVIL setting. they are perfectly valid in arenas of outright war, but thats not civil society... yes, i understand some of you deluded types confuse the two arenas, which is my whole point in saying i don't trust you with guns on my streets. guns destroy democracy, guns are a threat to our freedoms, not a protection of them

what freedom am i talking about? our right to fucking live, protected from deluded assholes with assault rifles and a schizophrenic dirty harry complex

private ownership of Cars (1)

Mr Abstracto (226219) | more than 5 years ago | (#27631613)

is something that impinges on my freedom. in the form of assholes driving around implements of death on my streets.

a car is a valid and necessary (0)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27632151)

implement of civil life

a gun isn't

Re: a car is a valid and necessary (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27633195)

Driving is a privilege, remember? The state revokes licenses for all sorts of reasons, and expects people to continue living civilly. And while vehicle ownership is a new phenomenon, there has never been a civilization that wasn't maintained by armed men.

yeah, armed men. an army. the police (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27634201)

why does that translate in your mind into every asshole on the street?

Re:private ownership of firearms (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#27631927)

In other words you are afraid of people with guns. I once got punched in the face, standing at a bus stop. It was terrifying. And yet I don't go around asking that all fists be taken off the streets.

The world we live in is a dangerous place. I could have just as easily been stabbed, or pushed in front of a train. The sooner you learn to deal with the inherent dangerousness of life, the happier you will be.

hey lets give everyone plutonium (-1, Offtopic)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27632177)

what?! you think that should be controlled?

life is dangerous, just deal with it, give my plutonium

Re:hey lets give everyone plutonium (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#27633179)

lol yes, plutonium, Jefferson would have approved. Basically what it boils down to is society wants guns, at least enough members of society want them, and the rest are willing to tolerate it, so we have them. And if enough of society wanted plutonium, we would have that too. And I would be unhappy, but I would deal with it.

You really only have two choices: either deal with it, or change people's minds so they are against it, just as they are against plutonium. Whining and complaining that it is your 'right' is just annoying. Find a way to change people's minds, or deal with it. But don't be afraid either way.

Re:hey lets give everyone plutonium (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27633599)

More to the point, if I were in a position to obtain a stash of plutonium, I don't think I'd be very concerned with whatever plutonium-control laws the rest of society might see fit to pass.

I would be no more interested in plutonium-control laws, than criminals are interested in gun-control laws.

simple logic: (0, Offtopic)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27634269)

if something is illegal, less people can get it

do you understand that? its really that simple, and the whole fucking point. no one, no one imagines that you can get rid of every gun, or that this is necessary to do

marijuana is illegal, and its easy to get. but if it were legal, it would be even easier. all making something illegal does is make it less prevalent

of course there are always committed assholes, who will get whatever the hell you outlaw no matter what. such committed assholes don't matter to a simple measurement of bulk quantity available on the street

we're talking about the ease of onwership, the casual hoodlum, not the committed psychopaths

gun control simply leads to less deaths at the hands of random assholes who aren't carrying guns, simply because they are too hard to get. random domestic situations and public pride bruisings turn into knifeplay rather than gunplay. you do realize you can kill 10 people in a minute by spraying a street party with a gun, you'd probably get one or two at the most with a knife. its a matter of reducing the firepower easily available to your average retard, that's the whole point

its not a complicated concept for you to grasp

not everyone has some burning desire to have a gun. some just have it because its in easy reach. put it a little further out of reach, and the committed gun fetishists will of course still have their gun stashes to guard against whatever bogeyman they are afraid of. but your average casual owner simply will give it up as an option. these gun owners represent the majority of current owners

thus: you outlaw guns, you end thousands of needless deaths

what the hell is more important than that?

some fantasy of armed yokels in the woods saving us all from a secret antidemocracy?

some fantasy of dirty harry righting wrongs as a one man judge and executioner?

pffffffft. grow the fuck up

Re:simple logic: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27635715)

if something is illegal, less people can get it

Warning: Retard-like typing detected.

FYI, high school kids these days find it easier to buy marijuana [stopthedrugwar.org] than beer. Good luck getting rid of all those guns.

its about urban versus rural (0, Offtopic)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27634223)

the only reason the usa lags in this common sense of outlawing guns is that it is still more rural than other modern societies, that have outlawed guns, that are more densely populated

that will change, already the usa is majority urban, where guns make no sense

thus, its inevitable

with the passage of time, a more and more urban usa will simply reach the critical mass where guns will be outlawed

enjoy your gun. your time is numbered

and if you think it is unfair rural folk should suffer for urban folk, guess what? right now, the urban majority suffers with needless deaths for the sake of the rural minority

in other words, the status quo is already undemocratic, and simply lags out of nostalgia for some davey crocket era

Re:private ownership of firearms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27632915)

Guns?! He's afraid of people with Shift keys. Baby steps, here. Baby steps.

Re:private ownership of firearms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27633709)

I'm sorry about you being punched in the face. It's a stupid argument. But still, being punched in the face beats being shot in the face any day of the week.

There's a big difference between the risk posed from the presence of guns to the presence of fists or even knives if there is any sort of stand off. You couldn't have been as easily stabbed - it's much harder physically and mentally to stab someone than it is to pull a trigger in the heat of the moment. For some reason apologists for the level of gun violence in the US don't seem to realise this.

There is inherently some danger in life, but the level of danger is hardly a constant.

And there's the fact that guns are completely different things from hands: one is expressly designed to kill things. If for some reason you were born with a gun in the place of a hand we could probably make an exception for you. I'm just boggled at the arguments people trot out to rationalise that sort of thing.

Re:private ownership of firearms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27632043)

That's a hot button you got there. Might want to check your logic circuit for shorts.

Re:private ownership of firearms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27632443)

So, no American has needed to fight an invading power or corrupt government with deadly force on our home soil for a few centuries now. So what? Does this mean the need will never arise in the future? As with the right to sue, we should be happy that we can get through our daily lives without exercising the right to own deadly weapons—but it would be foolish as a society to give it up, and it's unjust to force free individuals to do so.

Re:private ownership of firearms (2, Insightful)

Bobby Mahoney (1005759) | more than 5 years ago | (#27632505)

Please, enough with your right to live, and your childish fear of guns. Cars kill more people than guns adjusted any way you like. One percent of one percent of deaths are gun related. How is this a credible threat to your "right to live"? The only answer is "It is not", contrary to what movies, television, and govt.'dependency-mongers' would have you believe.

And fascists don't come out of the 'right-wing-small-government-yokel-in-the-woods' fray. It requires a Socialist leader (Hitler, Mussolini) to create a fascist state: You have to tie industry and finance to the government under the guise of rescuing or improving the plight of the working class. Hey, wait a minute!-

Re:private ownership of firearms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27632789)

Hey! While you're up there, why don't you look around for any polyps. You're that guy with the telescopic vision [slashdot.org] , aren't ya?

Re:private ownership of firearms (2)

bendodge (998616) | more than 5 years ago | (#27633711)

First, I'd like to thank the GP for pointing out your hypocrisy. Second, I'd like to point out that "assault weapon" is either redundant or nonexistent. Stop using that made-up scare term.

"Yokels" like me who live in the western USA and "cling to guns and religion" are a very, very poor target for anyone hoping to "rise to power". Farmers are independent people. No Marxists, Muslims or any other -its or -isms come here make speeches. They'd be wasting their time. There's a reason people like Lenin stump in the cities.

As for your statement that guns do not protect democracy (I think you meant a republic), I think you ought to take a look at our very own Revolutionary War. Do you think the Continental Army would ever have been able to defeat a world-class army if nearly every able-bodied male didn't have a gun and know how to use it? You say I'm confusing the arena of a civil setting with outright war. In order to protect freedom, one must be able to stage an outright war (see American Revolution again).

I appreciate most of your posts and often mod you up, but you most definitely have a logical disconnect regarding self defense.

Re:private ownership of firearms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27634075)

As for your statement that guns do not protect democracy (I think you meant a republic), I think you ought to take a look at our very own Revolutionary War.

Specious. America's rampant love of the hand gun has done nothing to stop the PATRIOT Act or rampant abuses of power in the last decades.

Reality is guns provide you with a false sense of security. The more guns there are in a society the more intentional homicides, be it Somalia, USA, or Switzerland (three of the countries with the highest rates of gun violence and homicide anywhere in the world).

Re:private ownership of firearms (2, Insightful)

Grym (725290) | more than 5 years ago | (#27634277)

The more guns there are in a society the more intentional homicides, be it Somalia, USA, or Switzerland (three of the countries with the highest rates of gun violence and homicide anywhere in the world).

So, what's your solution then? A gun prohibition [wfu.edu] ? I suspect that will work about as well as Alcohol Prohibition or the "War on Drugs", which is to say not at all.

The current arrangement in no way perfect. But there's no way to prove that a divisive campaign to rid the public of its arms wouldn't be worse. And even IF there are less bodies in the end, at some point one needs to consider how the people live rather than how many die. Being servants of the state or victims of the largest, meanest group aren't exactly desirable outcomes. And what about the will of the people? If the majority of voters see a place for firearms in private hands, why should they be denied that in a Democratic country? Because you know better? For their own good? Such is the mindset of an oligarch [wikipedia.org] , an authoritarian [wikipedia.org] .

-Grym

if the majority vote to outlaw guns (0, Offtopic)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27634335)

how could you define it as anything other than simple democracy at work? the only reason the usa lags in this common sense of outlawing guns is that it is still more rural than other modern societies, that have outlawed guns, that are more densely populated. that will change, already the usa is majority urban, where guns make no sense. thus, its inevitable. with the passage of time, a more and more urban usa will simply reach the critical mass where guns will be outlawed. enjoy your gun. your time is numbered

and if you think it is unfair rural folk should suffer for urban folk, guess what? right now, the urban majority suffers with needless deaths for the sake of the rural minority

in other words, the status quo is already undemocratic, and simply lags out of nostalgia for some davey crockett era. in other words, the continued free ownership of guns is the oligarchical, authoritarian existence you refer to. rural folk's influence on our laws is already out of proportion. due to the senate, for one, but also due to simple lag, the laws lagging behind the times. and if you think its unfair that rural folks hould ever suffer due to laws that make life easier for urban folk, remember: gun ownership is nothing more than a pact to let thousands of urban folk die for the sake of your quaint antiquated gun hobby. where's the oligarchy now buddy?

"at some point one needs to consider how the people live rather than how many die. Being servants of the state or victims of the largest, meanest group aren't exactly desirable outcomes"

i agree 100%. i no longer want to a victim of low iq hotheads with guns. i wish to live free of that scourge

as for prohibition, if something is illegal, less people can get it. do you understand that? its really that simple, and the whole fucking point. no one, no one imagines that you can get rid of every gun, or that this is necessary to do. marijuana is illegal, and its easy to get. but if it were legal, it would be even easier. all making something illegal does is make it less prevalent. of course there are always committed assholes, who will get whatever the hell you outlaw no matter what. such committed assholes don't matter to a simple measurement of bulk quantity available on the street. we're talking about the ease of ownership, the casual hoodlum, not the committed psychopaths

gun control simply leads to less deaths at the hands of random assholes who aren't carrying guns, simply because they are too hard to get. random domestic situations and public pride bruisings turn into knifeplay rather than gunplay. you do realize you can kill 10 people in a minute by spraying a street party with a gun, you'd probably get one or two at the most with a knife. its a matter of reducing the firepower easily available to your average retard, that's the whole point

its not a complicated concept for you to grasp

not everyone has some burning desire to have a gun. some just have it because its in easy reach. put it a little further out of reach, and the committed gun fetishists will of course still have their gun stashes to guard against whatever bogeyman they are afraid of. but your average casual owner simply will give it up as an option. these gun owners represent the majority of current owners

thus: you outlaw guns, you end thousands of needless deaths. what the hell is more important than that? some fantasy of armed yokels in the woods saving us all from a secret antidemocracy? some fantasy of dirty harry righting wrongs as a one man judge and executioner?

Re:private ownership of firearms (0, Offtopic)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27634299)

"As for your statement that guns do not protect democracy (I think you meant a republic), I think you ought to take a look at our very own Revolutionary War. Do you think the Continental Army would ever have been able to defeat a world-class army if nearly every able-bodied male didn't have a gun and know how to use it? You say I'm confusing the arena of a civil setting with outright war. In order to protect freedom, one must be able to stage an outright war (see American Revolution again)."

really?

this is a nice fantasy life. what the fuck does it have to do with reality?

you know, red dawn wasn't a bad movie

neither was star wars

BOTH OF WHICH ARE FUCKING FICTIONAL FANTASIES

all your retarded fantasy life results in is thousands of needless deaths due to random retards on the street with guns

so you put wagner's ride of valkyries on repeat mode and fantasy about protecting the usa from assorted imaginary land invasions. please keep your fucking fantasy life out of my public policy. thanks

Re:whenever we have a story about data retention (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27632567)

Way to go, gunfag. You've successfully turned a story about internet monitoring to a second amendment pissing match.

Oh, and you successfully made gunfags look like a bunch of butthurt losers.

As somebody who has no horse in this fight, I thank you for the pointless escalation, and the guarantee that all sides will be made to look like retarded monkeys. Now go back to your pissing match, gunfag.

Re:whenever we have a story about data retention (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27633101)

Wow, that was an over-the-top reaction. Far more pissy than anything the GP said, and yet you probably blame them.

Re:whenever we have a story about data retention (1)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 5 years ago | (#27631451)

i

like

my

enter

key

I think we need to start tracking... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27631497)

...when you are going to finsh that fucking movie.

Can you blame them? (1)

RulerOf (975607) | more than 5 years ago | (#27631543)

whenever i'm encountered by this strange slashdot groupthink

I wouldn't say it's all that strange, but we find snooping practices to be extremely abhorrent because they almost directly imply an assumption of guilt. Furthermore, ISP logs have frequently been used as a tool for the MAFIAA Lawyers to nail people up on the wall for enough "protection money" to satisfy their business model.

Lastly, years' duration of log-keeping rarely actually benefits the ISP or company in question. It is kinda funny that you posted this in a thread about 3 days worth of logging.

Sounds like an old idea but... (1)

LandruBek (792512) | more than 5 years ago | (#27631565)

I think this might be plagiarized. Consider:

Whensoever some Broadsheet publisheth some scandalous Story about the practise of "Paper Retention" and "File Mining," or the King's Men are observed in the act of prying into the Affairs of others, I must confess to Incredulousness. Can it be that you expect the Crown to honor his subjects' Security? I make bold to offer this Advice: if ye put some matter to Paper, then quite simply ye should expect it sometime to be read by Others, and not only by Yourself. Although some young Upstarts these days like Mr. ALEXANDER HAMILTON and Mr. JAMES MADISON might like to think that a loyal Citizen's Person, Houses, Papers and Effects should be secure against arbitrary Search and Seizure, I find this suggestion both Naive and Risible and it seems most Odd anyone should consider this Question any other way.

tee hee

yeah, exactly (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27634421)

as if hamilton or madison didn't know what they were inviting?

as if hamilton or madison expected protection from the crown?

you say that my attitude is akin to the attitude of kind george the third goons. no, rather my attitude is to say that king george has goons that don't respect you, and never will, and you should know that. when you criticize me for this, you're simply shooting the messenger

do you think the answer is to hold the goons to some sort of expectation of behavior?

the american revolution would have been unnecessary if king george's goons were nice and behaved? pfffffffft

Re:whenever we have a story about data retention (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27631755)

if you want security, if you want privacy DON'T PUT IT ON A WIRE OUTSIDE YOUR CONTROL

Hmmm, what about tubes outside my control?

Re:whenever we have a story about data retention (1)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 5 years ago | (#27632159)

What is strange is that this is the first post I've read of yours that makes sense. Usually you would poke fun at your post as a "conspiracy theory".

The only way I can make sense of it is as follows:
1. GFC hits.
2. Several rich neocons living in New York are particularly hard hit, and have to cut costs.
3. Folks in 2. stop funding you for proselytizing the party line, both on slashdot and (as they would figure from your posting history) in your movie.
4. This post was a warning to them. ...
5. You go back to flipping burgers because folks in 2 realize your slashdot addiction will keep you posting, and you have enough common cause with them (fear of "racist", gun bearing "yokels" who you well know never would have voted for the immigration laws that allowed you to migrate to the US in the first place, but weren't given the option) that you will continue posting what they want anyway. (See your next post).
6. Duke Nukem Forever is released.
7. World peace breaks out.
8. Cure for cancer discovered.
9. Bangamovie enters post-production.

Re:whenever we have a story about data retention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27633349)

strange no.

ill-conceived, very much so! According to your theory, the only option is to have a closed network in your house that no gets out and no one gets in.

Now that is useful. . . . . .

Re:whenever we have a story about data retention (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27634401)

no

the solution is to stop caring about what you send out there. and if you care about it, don't send it out there

most of it is useless anyways, and lost in a sea of other random crap from other people

it is a symptom of people imagining little tidbits of their lives to be far more important than it is. its selective, false, self-congratulatory outrage

ZOMG! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27631349)

IT Professionals, working for major Universities, monitor network traffic?

No. Fucking. Way.

All the cool kids are using SSH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27631377)

but SSH only moves the problem around. Now the ISP can see all the pr0n you're looking at. Still I would rather have the ISP looking at my traffic than the school because, well they hate me.

They hate the complaints they get from the parents of the girls I'm stalking, they hate the fact that I've stolen so much stuff from them yet they can't prove it. They hate the fools day pranks I pulled and they probably hate the fact that I'm using SSH too.

So if you're a student like me and you had only the slightest brush in with the lecturers/staff then you can be sure they're looking for more dirt on you. These people are bored and nothing would please them more than to find a way to have an annoying student expelled.

And this is a bad thing because? (1, Informative)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 5 years ago | (#27631479)

Help me out with this?

Misleading Headline (5, Insightful)

Decado (207907) | more than 5 years ago | (#27631481)

Seriously, they keep the records for 3 days for most traffic and 30 days for anomolous traffic which might indicate a threat to the network. Most networks I have seen keep data for far longer just because nobody ever bothers to clean out the logs.

The fact that they have a policy for cleaning the logs puts them streets ahead of the most network admins and yet they are being portrayed as the bad guys here.

Storm in a teacup if I have ever seen one.

Re:Misleading Headline (1)

Matey-O (518004) | more than 5 years ago | (#27632391)

And it's surprisingly easy to do. Monitor the ingress/egress traffic, throw away everything but the first 130-odd bits of the TCP Header and you get surprisingly good compression on the data.

Several years ago, I took a SANS class on Snort. Evidently Sandia Labs captured every packet on the wire and kept the transaction info, indefinitely. It was roughly a DVD-R a week.

On th other end of the spectrum, I syslog all of the connection info from our firewalls. I rotate the logs daily, and compress them when they're 30 days old (gzip logs-03-*) So far this year, the enterprise logs are 43 Gb. And disks are cheap.

Like anyone read past the title (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27631503)

The Tech article says, though, that the reco[...]

Look, timothy, little tip that'll make your job easier: Effectively zero Slashdotters read past the reminder that somebody can see them sometime, somewhere. They were all too busy alternating between sputtering gibberish, screaming in panic, and folding new layers on their tinfoil hats at that point.

Next time, you can save yourself a lot of writing trouble by just linking to The Tech with the text "people bigger than you fnord can see you fnord fnord fnord", and the effect will be the same.

Good for them (1)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27631539)

As a network admin I can't tell you how useful it is to have at least a little data about where something might have come from in the event of a problem arising. Three days worth of data is hardly something to get in a twit about, and honestly the specifics of the data probably isn't even looked at that much.

IHTFP (1)

psergiu (67614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27631547)

I Hope They Favoritize P2p

Interesting How The Feds Pursue

Re:IHTFP (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27631657)

Enjoying some alcohol tonight?

I am jack's complete lack of surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27631575)

We used to monitor students' internet activities at (insert name giant big ten school here) as far back as the nineties. We recorded every byte of traffic that passed through our internet gateways (it's probably an unmanageable amount of traffic by now) and wrote code that could "play back" a session for various services including recreating an entire X session. Telnet, http, ftp... whatever. But it was all encrypted as it was recorded and could only be accessed by the board of trustees, as I recall.

Ahh, memories.

MIT (-1, Flamebait)

CompMD (522020) | more than 5 years ago | (#27631725)

What is it with Slashdot's raging hardon for MIT and the apologists who think that if MIT does something it must be rainbows and puppies and unicorns?

Breaking News: MIT Runs a Network for Students! (5, Funny)

carlzum (832868) | more than 5 years ago | (#27631847)

This is Quentin Smith reporting live from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. News agencies are reporting that MIT has been keeping records of network activity. It's a practice called "logging" by hackers, crackers, and other computer deviants. Using nefarious software techniques, "loggers" can identify and disrupt innocent users' botnets.

Individuals with limited knowledge of computers like MIT students are particularly susceptible to these types of attacks. To combat these "loggers," experts suggest disabling firewalls and updating account information if you receive an email from your bank.

Re:Breaking News: MIT Runs a Network for Students! (1)

claysdna (1519881) | more than 5 years ago | (#27633567)

Thank you for saying in a few words what would have taken me a page. Excellent work!

Re: (1)

clint999 (1277046) | more than 5 years ago | (#27632185)

His car is private property. Now if you have a little hover camera that follows his car everywhere, that's just fine, since he shouldn't expect anything he does in public to not be logged and cross-referenced extensively. If he doesn't want that, he should avoid doing things in public.

m'oId down (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27632685)

out how to make the moans and groans deeper into t1he first organization

Three days... (5, Insightful)

Chris Snook (872473) | more than 5 years ago | (#27633053)

...is just enough time to figure out:

a) where the bomb threat came from.
b) which building the suicidal student needs to get talked down from.
c) who impersonated the professor to cancel an assignment.
d) how a lab router ended up sniffing for passwords.

All of these things happened while I was in campus IT, but I never heard about an RIAA/MPAA complaint about something that happened less than two weeks prior, so this really doesn't look like undue outside influence to invade student privacy. It's just responsible network management.

Adelaide Institute of TAFE does this also... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27633485)

...this is an Institute that attracts many, many International students, most seem to be Asians.

Australia has a history of worrying about "Asian invasion"... perhaps this is just the latest incarnation of this senseless, racist phobia.

!story (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 5 years ago | (#27633531)

how the fuck is this news? this is extremely basic monitoring for simple diagnostics and troubleshooting.

They own the network... (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 5 years ago | (#27635343)

... don't they? They can do whatever the hell they want with their network, including monitoring, shaping, filtering, or whatever. If students are that worried about privacy, they can get their own private connections.

Re:They own the network... (2, Interesting)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 5 years ago | (#27635709)

Um, no, they can't. They kindof have to use that one. Especially if they live in the dorms.

How comfortable are you with your ISP and landlord tracking you?

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