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Ask Carl Kadie About Censorship and Privacy at Colleges

michael posted more than 13 years ago | from the no-more-than-one-Napster-question-please dept.

News 221

We've received a lot of inquiries recently about computer policies at various colleges and universities - usually the policy goes something like: "Anything you do or say on this network is ours, we own it, we can read your email, we can delete you, too bad. All your data are belong to us." Oddly enough, these sorts of policies are in place even at schools that would never dream of snooping on students' postal mail or the books they read at the library. Carl Kadie has been EFF's longest-serving volunteer, doing work for the past ten years in the area of academic freedom and computers. He's written two book chapters on the issue and helped examine, critique and improve the usage policies at many universities. Post below any questions you have on computers and academic freedom - maybe your school has a particularly bad policy, maybe you just have a general question - and we'll pick the best ones and forward them to him for a response.

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221 comments

Do they have these rights to with snail-mail? (3)

chabotc (22496) | more than 13 years ago | (#432259)

As i know universities in the US, they also own the postal office within campus grounds.

Since both use a medium owned by the university, and both are 'private communication', does this mean they also have the right to read your private (snail mail) letters?

-- Chris Chabot
"I dont suffer from insanity, i enjoy every minute of it!"

Get use to it... (2)

cyn004 (257590) | more than 13 years ago | (#432260)

All e-mail, phone calls, and video monitoring are now standard for most companies, so why not universities and colleges? Get use to it, privacy is no longer an issue.

Sad.

What in your opinion... (2)

SquadBoy (167263) | more than 13 years ago | (#432261)

is the best/most effective argument to get non-techie types to understand that the computer/internet is just another form of media and should be treated just like we would books/video/magazines?

Re:Do they have these rights to with snail-mail? (4)

Bob McCown (8411) | more than 13 years ago | (#432262)

The answer to this is no, because federal law prohibits them from opening your mail, but there are no laws reguarding your email. Thats the problem. Email spread has outpaced the government's ability to regulate the delivery of it....

Question? (3)

aitala (111068) | more than 13 years ago | (#432263)

I am the webmaster for a medium sized Univesity in the South. While our IT department does an excellent job supporting the University, we face some serious staff and available technology issues.

How would you suggest balancing the privacy needs of a University community, the security issues created by such a diverse group, the issue of academic freedom, and the fact that college IT departments have serious staff/load/pay/tech issues?

WVU (2)

Dungeon Dweller (134014) | more than 13 years ago | (#432264)

Here, they have everyone sign into the Academic Computing labs (the labs in engineering are unmonitored). Then they assign you to a particular computer. This is so they can give the logs to law enforcement personel/so forth.

Ironically, they don't have you log in with a unique username/password or swipe or anything in that nature. No offense to many of the students here, but they complain that most of the system is too hard to use as it is anyway, many would probably complain.

Also ironic, the system doesn't use static IPs... Which makes it a real bitch to trace through the logs anyways.

What if you are NDA'd and use the computer network (2)

Rares Marian (83629) | more than 13 years ago | (#432265)

I spemd time chatting about hardware designs. I have a responsibility to not one company but a whole consortium to not disclose the ideas we work on.

How does that work with Network Use Policies?

Sounds Okay to me. (1)

Patrick McRotch (314811) | more than 13 years ago | (#432266)

I completely understand the need for privacy, especially for college students who have a reputation of trading MP3's, warez, and other illegal files. In some schools around the country, this warez trading problem is so severe that students who have a legitimate need for bandwidth are having trouble connecting to sites hosted outside of the school's network. Clearly, something needs to be done to verify that students who are using their school's bandwidth are using it for legal and reasonable purposes. Most major companies have already implemented a proxy server/packet sniffer monitoring solution to cut down on illegal usage.

I don't see this as a violation of a user's rights or of a user's privacy. The simple truth is, it's not your bandwidth in the first place. If you're going to use a network provided to you by an educational institution or business, you must adhere to their rules and restrictions. Don't like it? Go out and pay for your own bandwidth.

What can we do? (2)

emmons (94632) | more than 13 years ago | (#432267)

We can complain all day about how terrible schools' policies regarding their networks and the internet may be, but what can we do about it? How can we help universities realize that such policies are un-american? As IT professionals, and members of society as a whole, how can we help to remove the fear of the internet that produce such big-brotherish ideas?

----

With Power comes responsibility... (5)

Zachary DeAquila (31195) | more than 13 years ago | (#432268)

What responsibilities do universiies incur when they have such overbroad AUPs and reserve such powers for themselves? What if, in their browsing through my data, they delete or destroy important information (thesis data or papers or somesuch)? Are they liable for it? What if they 'leak' damaging data either unknowingly or through misunderstanding? Can they be held responsible?

I'm afraid that I know the answers to all these questions and am even more afraid of those answers. So what can be done about it beyond the standard SSH and PGP rhetoric ? Is there a way to make them take responsibility for these actions, preferably a heavy enough responsibility to discourage them from wanting to take these actions in the first place?

--Z

If the want to own it all... (2)

DirkGently (32794) | more than 13 years ago | (#432269)

"Anything you do or say on this network is ours, we own it, we can read your email, we can delete you, too bad. All your data are belong to us."

Doesn't that mean that they are partly responsible for the rampant piracy that goes on within the residential networks?

Just a thought...
Dirk

University policy (5)

Pacer (153176) | more than 13 years ago | (#432270)

I lived for two years in University residence and, frankly, my college didn't seem to have much respect for the privacy of students in any regard: all mail came through University-owned mailboxes, and packages had to be picked up at the dormitory desk, staffed by hall RAs -- students with a significant disciplinary function. All telephone service went through the university switchboard. Your room could be searched, by university staff or by police, without your permission and without any sort of warrant. Most tenant rights were violated (for instance, eviction with two weeks' notice any time of year), and now the university informs students' parents of on-campus alcohol or disciplinary violations (these are adults whose academic transcripts cannot be released to parents without a signed waiver).

It is not any surprise to me that fascist user agreements are in place concerning electronic media in light of the general control-oriented attitude of many universities towards their on-campus student populations. Perhaps the problem runs deeper than simple technophobia?

Pacer

Re:Tough Shit (1)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 13 years ago | (#432271)

Umm, pardon me, but my university has us pony up $115 for 8 months on the residence internet system. The e-mail is free, but you don't get a choice about using it or not, as a lot of course info comes through that account so you have to use it for at least some things. Its not to high speed, is specially tweaked to have FTP, Napster, and other "low priority" communications run especially slowly (avg 1k/sec) and has a 500 meg/week dl cap. I think that's a reasonable deal, actually, that part makes sense, they're trying to allocate their limited bandwidth properly. I would have no problem with this if it weren't for the usual evil privacy policy.

I think you'll find many less technically obsessed universities will have similar plans.

Re:Tough Shit (1)

NiceGeek (126629) | more than 13 years ago | (#432272)

Hmmm..seems to me that I paid tuition when I was in college so the internet access WAS NOT FREE! Most colleges seem to forget that students are paying customers.

Re:Tough Shit (1)

Rares Marian (83629) | more than 13 years ago | (#432273)

I do research within a consortium of developers and I am, under NDA, responsible for my part in keeping those discussions private.

I paid $400+ for 100Mbit access.

Schools give you free network access the same way department stores hike up prices and then call it a sale.

Re:Do they have these rights to with snail-mail? (1)

daniell (78495) | more than 13 years ago | (#432274)

of course, unless your email is encrypted, anyone in its path of transmission can read it... there's no step of opening the envelope, you just have to glance in its direction. I think that's one reason that there's been no legistlation again reading your email.

-Daniel

Re:Get use to it... (1)

boaworm (180781) | more than 13 years ago | (#432275)

I'd say the opposite. Its quite hard to prevent for instance the Snailmail company to read your mails, postcards and so. But with electonic communications you have the possiblity of encrypting your messages, very easy. So instead of saying that privacy is no longer an issue, id say its now becoming one. Its up to you to write your letters on a postcard, or to put it in a safe and send it. Just that encryption is a bit cheaper then sending a big safe :-)

College's vs Corporations (3)

Chris Brewer (66818) | more than 13 years ago | (#432276)

In your opinion, is there any difference between what a student does on the campus network using college owned computers and an employee using the corporate network using the company's computers with regard to who owns the data?
--

Re:Get use to it... (1)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 13 years ago | (#432277)

Umm, yes, but your paying to be at university.... you're the customer, and they're treating you like an employee.

Free? Make me laugh some more (1)

MadAhab (40080) | more than 13 years ago | (#432278)

When tuition at private universities is approaching $30K per year, it's kind of hard to call this "free." Students are not given an option not to subsidize these networks, either. And pretending that there is a free market in education is so stupid, it's obvious you didn't go to one of the better schools.

They have every right to complain. Furthermore, as a taxpayer, my taxes go to subsidize those schools and those tuitions, and I don't like it, I have every right to whine and complain until your ears bleed.

The AC mentality: anyone who doesn't like anything exactly the way it is should be ridiculed and mocked. That's why you are called cowards. Real people stand and fight for their beliefs instead of accepting everything like sheep taking it from the farmer.

Boss of nothin. Big deal.
Son, go get daddy's hard plastic eyes.

Linux acceptability (5)

dwbryson (104783) | more than 13 years ago | (#432279)

Carl- I have fought a battle at my college over Linux being on the network. I told the UTS( Univeristy Technology Services ) that I was a big advocate of Linux and was starting up a Linux User Group on campus. But first I wanted their approval. They swiftly told me that, "You can absolutly not encourage the use of Linux on OUR network, and you should be lucky that we don't ban it on campus." I was completely uphauled by this, and so promptly turned around and tried to get as many people interested as I could in Linux. And eventually started my own LUG. Do they have a right to tell me what OS I can use on their network? They of course support windows, and allow Mac's, but flat out tell me I can't have linux on their network. Do you have any suggestions on what rights I as a user have?

Re:Sounds Okay to me. (1)

vectro (54263) | more than 13 years ago | (#432280)

Erhm, MP3s aren't illegal. Distributing MP3s that happen to contain copyrighted audio is illegal. It's the act of distribution that's illegal, not the file format or even the songs themselves.

Finally, saying it's not the student's bandwidth isn't really fair. After all, where do you think the money comes from to pay for the bandwidth? That's right, the students.

Re:Tough Shit (1)

Rares Marian (83629) | more than 13 years ago | (#432281)

I pay the school for services, I am the one who should decide their purpose.

Education is a business. Education should never be an institution. It only becomes a farce if it does.

Legal Recourse? (5)

CU-Ballistic (248908) | more than 13 years ago | (#432282)

I attend a rather well-known University in the South. Of course, they have the requisite "we own you and your data" policy. They state in very explicit terms that they have the right, at any time, to search and confiscate my computer, hard drives, and other media. They say that they also have the right to monitor network traffic, and disable any account which is exhibiting "unusual or excessive" activity. This all seems incredibly arbitrary to me, and worries me very much. My question to you is: Do I have any legal recourse? My main quarrel is that as a first-year student, I am forced to live on campus, and many classes require work to be submitted electronically. Since I am unable to "opt-out" of their heavy-handed policy, do I have any legal recourse if I were to encounter a search-and-seizure situation with the Administration here?
-

Logs (2)

punkball (240859) | more than 13 years ago | (#432283)

I go to school in Boston and recently was told in class that a kid managed to crack his way into some of the NSA's computers. The NSA asked my University for logs of the users network use and the school produced detailed logs going back to when he registered his computer for network use. Pretty scary that the school would actually record all our network use. Obviously not the packets themselves, but hosts the kid connected to and so on. Scared me pretty good.
-----------------------------------
I don't think, therefore I'm not...

U/M Ann Arbor "gets it" (1)

adlr (102739) | more than 13 years ago | (#432284)

I'm pretty sure that the University Of Michigan in Ann Arbor respects privacy.

The one thing I know they do log is who's logged on to which computer when. so don't think about sending anonymous, threatening, mail to a prof or anyone. i don't think they log all email.

Also, they let you run servers provided you supplied in creating the content you server.

When it comes to writing code for class, you own the code, not them.

They seem to "get it" across the board.

-andrew

Re:What if you are NDA'd and use the computer netw (2)

OverCode@work (196386) | more than 13 years ago | (#432285)

Many universities also forbid using their network resources for business-related activities. (I think this is an incredibly counterproductive policy for both the university and the students, but it's often in the contracts.)

-John

Re:College's vs Corporations (1)

Rares Marian (83629) | more than 13 years ago | (#432286)

Corporations rip you off by paying you for hours not for work done.

same with colleges.

Re:Tough Shit (1)

Evangelion (2145) | more than 13 years ago | (#432287)


Umm, "Free"!?!?!

It's paid for in the Tuition. Or did you think University was free?

Oh, and alot of University's access sucks ass nowadays. Yeah, in 1991 when it was installed, it was l33t high speed, but hardly any more.

Of course, I'm only speaking from my university, but their access & their network both suck horrible ass - only thier email is remotely reliable.

The thing is, 6 years ago, that level of access kicked ass.

I honestly think that the whole "we give you free access, so you have to do everything we say" is a bullshit argument. Most students nowadays have thier own email accounts (hotmail or otherwise), and half of the compsci students I've talked to have cable. The thing is, is that they are forced by the university to use the university account to converse with thier profs - hardly anything is sent to external emails.

So, in my case, anyway, the argument has turned into "we give you a mediocre email account, and an unusably crappy dial up account, and shitty network access while on campus, and force you to use it do communicate with your professors, and everything you do on it are belong to us" .

Sorry if that doesn't exactly sound like they're bending over backwards.


--

WPI's Acceptible Use Policy (3)

Saint Nobody (21391) | more than 13 years ago | (#432289)

Personally, i think that WPI [wpi.edu] has a pretty good AUP [wpi.edu] , (which is not to say i haven't had problems with netops regarding a few violations, only one of which i was actually responsible for.) it doesn't say that they can read our email personal files and other miscellany, and it requires us not to go poking around. However, it doesn't say that they can't.

how do you feel about policies like that? It doesn't guarantee our privacy, but it doesn't infringe on it either. Is lack of a guarantee an implicit infringement?

Re:Heh (1)

BitwizeGHC (145393) | more than 13 years ago | (#432290)

Actually I believe that's a videogame mangled-English reference and didn't originate from Jeff K.'s pea-sized brain. Kinda like the perennial fave "A Winner Is You".

Snail Mail & Library Controls (1)

susano_otter (123650) | more than 13 years ago | (#432291)

Oddly enough, these sorts of policies are in place even at schools that would never dream of snooping on students' postal mail or the books they read at the library.

Don't be an ass. AFAIK, USPS service is strictly controlled by the federal gov't. There are strong limitations on what local post offices can and cannot do with your mail, no matter where it is or who is handling it. I'm pretty sure that your college couldn't (legally) snoop your mail even if they wanted to - no matter if they have access to it or even handle it.

As far as controlling your library usage - duh! The library is a college asset, and presumably the books in it are already controlled by the library. If they don't want you reading something, they simply don't have to put it on the shelves. Furthermore, they already monitor what you do read - they know which books are late and who had them last, don't they?

In short, they don't snoop your snail mail because they can't. They could snoop your library usage, but probably don't need to, since they control the available content already.

Public v Private Universities (3)

bmasel (129946) | more than 13 years ago | (#432292)

1) Public Universities are in general more constrained than Private institutions in regulating speech, under the 1st Amendment, and in some cases further restrained by rulings under State Constitutions' free speech clauses.

To what extent does this make "It's their hardare" arguments vulnerable?

2) Do State or Federal infrastructure grants to privte Universities make their Net facilities Public Fora?

What about anti-monopoly issues (3)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 13 years ago | (#432293)

At my university, you connect through the university phone system which makes dial-up impossible, and they don't let you use cable-modems. This neighborhood lacks any DSL or anything like that, so in other words, if you're on res, its Resnet or do without. As a result the university can impose whatever net policies they like, at any time, and we can't do a thing about it. How can this problem be handled?

Re:Get used to it... (1)

Inigima (47437) | more than 13 years ago | (#432294)

All e-mail, phone calls, and video monitoring are now standard for most companies, so why not universities and colleges? Get use to it, privacy is no longer an issue.

If, as you say, privacy is no longer an issue, then the root cause of it is that the general public, like yourself, has adopted a defeatist attitude. It is precisely this kind of outlook that makes it possible to take away privacy like that. We haven't lost yet, and I won't let it go without a fight just because someone thinks we already have.

inigima

Encryption Reference Requirement Compliancy (2)

MattGWU (86623) | more than 13 years ago | (#432295)

Insert obligatory plug for free data encryption tools and secure protocols here

This message was brought to you in compliance with the "Slashdot Encryption Reference Requirement" stating that encryption and its merits must be invoked when discussing anything plausably relevant to it

-----Obligatory Encryption Related Post Sig------
When cryptograph is outlawed...and so on, and so forth
------End Obligatory Sig------

It is funny (1)

kurioszyn (212894) | more than 13 years ago | (#432296)

It is rather funny that people complain about email and other stuff while their ability to freely discuss and explore various ideas is severly limited due to rampart Political Correctness.

Re:Do they have these rights to with snail-mail? (4)

tewwetruggur (253319) | more than 13 years ago | (#432297)

I actually worked in the campus post office, which, mind you, is not the same as the little "mail rooms" at the respective dorms. At the post office, the non-student employees were federal postal employees. The students are paid by the university, but are held to the rules of the USPS. The people in the mail rooms in the dorms are emploiyed by the front desk of the dorm. They are not employed through the post office.

So what does that mean. Well, simple. No one is allowed to open you mail. It is a federal offense. There were certain "special" cases when we might open someone's mail, but only because they had requested it during holiday times, or if they wre athlete's on the road who were needing something urgent. Even that was probably breaking the rules/law, but again, it was only if requested and was something urgent. It was often loan info, looking for plane tickets for home, a check from mom and dad. And its not like we opened everything addressed to that person - they had to tell us exactly who it was coming from and what was in it.

But as far as the university "snooping" in your snail mail - well, that'd land a few butts in prison, to say the least.

People tend to forget that e-mail is indeed NOT the same as snail mail. But that doesn't mean that it shouldn't be.

Re:Get use to it... (1)

cyn004 (257590) | more than 13 years ago | (#432298)

Yes, your paying your way for school and yes, you you have the right to have a say in what the polcies and regulations are for your school if you are paying for school. All university standards should be drafted by both University falculty and students. BUT you tell me...how many people people in University care about an issue like this and how many of them will take action? There are more serious issues in Universities and Colleges that need to be addressed first but never get the backing, so what makes this privacy issue anything special?

Welcome to Reality 101.

You have no reasonable expectation of Privacy ... (1)

SuperRob (31516) | more than 13 years ago | (#432299)

You have no reasonable expectation of Privacy when using a PUBLIC service of any sort. If you are concerned with Privacy, do it from home with your own equipment. If you are, for all intents and purposes, in a place other than your personal residence (Dorm rooms are NOT your personal residence), then you should NOT expect to be unmonitored.

Chalk this up to one of those "Well, DUH" kind of things. I don't even understand why this is attracting attention. Lack of Privacy in your home I can understand. Spyware on your personal machine I can understand. But privacy issues in SCHOOLS? Come on ...

Re:Do they have these rights to with snail-mail? (3)

TechLawyer (182030) | more than 13 years ago | (#432300)

My university (the University of Arizona), back in the 80s, used to intercept financial aid checks sent directly to students, where those checks were made out to students. Good ol' U of A then deposited them in a slush fund for a couple of months, before they issued the student their financial aid money, and after they had garnered significant interest. The funny thing is that the external scholarship entities weren't aware of this. It didn't stop until I worked out what was going in on conjunction with my external scholarship entity, and they promptly had a bunch of high-priced lawyers put a stop to that nonsense immediately. I suppose the lesson is that big institutions will do whatever they can get away with.

Re:WPI's Acceptible Use Policy (1)

Rares Marian (83629) | more than 13 years ago | (#432301)

I go to the same school. We even get to keep our inventions for Major Qualification Projects. Frankly it kicks ass.

For the slow, just because I think of something doesn't mean I'm using school property, specifically this $1000 Athlon I bought AND OWN.

Course, private ownership has no place in students lives, I mean they're just students you know, they're there to learn so we can sell them to Microsoft or some other corporation.

privacy vs. resources (1)

perrin5 (38802) | more than 13 years ago | (#432302)

Here's my question/rant:

Students (I am one) are required to pay a fee for information services, eg networking, computer labs on campus, etc. We are given rights, and restrictions. But here's my issue. The university takes ultimate responsibility for maintenance, upgrading, and upkeep of the system. Doesn't that mean that they have the right to make sure that the same system is not being abused by the 1337, (read freshmen) the unaware, and the malicious?

People nowadays seem to view electronic media as theirs and theirs alone. It's not! We as tax-payers, may have helped build the thing, but we do not maintain it. Until and unless there is a standardardized code of behavior for networked traffic, an individual system administrator, even one the size of a major university, should have the RIGHT to ensure that their equipment is not being abused.

If you don't like it, buy your own equipment, and set it up in the basement of a major NAP.

And I don't think we should view this as any sort of analogy to federal mail. The USPS is protected by a series of laws, E-mail is not. Besides, if it were, anyone who set up a sniffer, for ANY reason would be breaking the law.

Any responses?

University of Illinois (1)

atubbs (72643) | more than 13 years ago | (#432303)

As an introduction... In the U of I dorms, our usage policies are rather strict. We're permitted 500 mb per day (either direction) per MAC address. From there, we're limited to 4 MAC addresses per port, and there is one port per room. In some of the older networks in other dorms, you are limited to 500 mb per day per port. Additionally, access to Napster and Imesh has been blocked entirely (through traditional access, anyhow). There are talks of implementing a new system, which analyzes your traffic usage, and if you use more than a certain amount of bandwidth over a certain period of time (there's a 10 mbit switched line to each of the dorms, and ill usage would be something along the lines of 100 k/sec for more than 30 seconds or so), the system will throttle your connection. If you continue to use bandwidth, the system will continue to throttle your connection until the connection is made un-usable. The procedure reverses incrementally in a similar manner, so you get the idea. Many see this as an improvement, but I'm not so sure. Irregardless...

In any event, the administration contends that doing this isn't an invasion of privacy, and since we don't have a network usage fee, there's no reason we should complain, because using the resource for anything outside academic purposes is out of policy, and there is almost no way to justify high bandwidth usage (or high volume, their current, and much less accurate metric) save some very special exceptions, such as downloading Linux ... and now they contend that since RedHat and Debian are mirrored locally, that isn't even such a good excuse. Regardless, even if your usage of bandwidth IS legitimate, they shut your port down first, and re-instate it only after you've talked to the security officer, whose role is essentially "Hey, were you trading mp3s? I think you are. One more time, and you get to talk to the dean."

So after visiting University of Michigan and some other universities where essentially the official policy is "It's not our business, if they use more bandwidth, then we'll give them more to use," do you, as a researched expert in the field, think that this type of policy is reasonable? You can view the posted policy [uiuc.edu] , which also mentions that gaming and other activities are prohibited, as it may impact educational usage of the network. I'm interested in hearing how this relates to what else you've seen, and how fair of a policy you think this is.

They made me sign to agree to follow all EULAs! (4)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#432304)

After crashing part of the CS dept's network (due to program error), I had my account disabled and was summoned to the sysadmin's office. In addition to explaining what I did that messed things up, which we all agreed was accidental, I was asked to again sign the dept's "terms of service" form.

Stupid me, though, decided to read it first. One line said that I agree to abide by the software licenses of all the software packages installed on the system. When I asked to see these licenses, the sysadmin got all heated and refused. I asked if they were posted somewhere or stored on-line. He said, no. When I asked how I could sign to agree to follow licenses which were refused to be presented to me, he said, "well, you have to sign or your account can't be re-enabled".

Hmmm. Sign or be unable to do required schoolwork.

So I signed but wrote next to my signature that staff refused to show me the SW licenses they required me to agree to above. The sysadmin grumbled, but accepted the amended TOS form.

I heard similar tales from students at other universities and schools. WHY DO SCHOOLS DO THIS?

Not Just at Universities... (2)

Bonker (243350) | more than 13 years ago | (#432305)

The last two companies I have worked at have had policies like this. They kept them around while not enforcing them so that they could 'weed out the bad eggs' whenever they wanted an excuse to fire somebody.

Re:If the want to own it all... (3)

tewwetruggur (253319) | more than 13 years ago | (#432306)

That, I believe, is why some universities banned napster and napster-like services. Some schools claimed it was a bandwidth issue, but your point was most definitely considered. I can't recall exactly which school it was, but they cited that exact reason for why p2p music sharing was banned.

hold on a minute.... (3)

SGDarkKnight (253157) | more than 13 years ago | (#432307)

I certainly hope this dosn't mean that uni's or colleges can just simply read the students mail. It should matter where the mail is. It is still directed to one person, and only that person. Just because the college or university has a mail deposit centre for the post office to drop off mail to all the students living in residence, should not grant them the right to read it just because they are holding on to it until it is picked up. Same goes for Email, just because its passing through several hops to get to its destination dosn't mean they the admin for those hops gets to read all the mail. So what does it matter if it goes through the hop or stops at the college, shouldn't it still be a private message protected by some sort of 'mail' law? Or do the laws just get tossed out the window when it comes to the internet.... ah well, maybe im just confused.... anyone elses opinion would be good.

Re:You have no reasonable expectation of Privacy . (5)

dvdeug (5033) | more than 13 years ago | (#432308)

What do you mean, my dorm room is not my personal residence? I live here, and pay for the privilege. Would you be so happy if your employer forced you to live in a certain apartment building, and forced you to use the LAN instead of a modem, and then told you that they could listen in on anything on that LAN?

Is it because of lawyers? (3)

Wariac (56029) | more than 13 years ago | (#432309)

Do you think that Schools do this in practice, or is this just a CYA (cover your ass) scenario in case a student does something stupid/illegal. It seems to me in this lawsuit-happy world full of sleazy lawyers that this could be the only way that Schools (or anyone) can avoid being sued into bankruptcy.

In a nutshell, Do the schools implement these policies on thier own accord, or are they usualy done at the request of thier insurer?

Thanks!

Re:Legal Recourse? (2)

ddstreet (49825) | more than 13 years ago | (#432310)

Since I am unable to "opt-out" of their heavy-handed policy

Unfortunately, the policy that many schools have regarding their obvious lack of regard for personal rights and freedoms is, you are able to 'opt-out' of their policies; it's called dropping out.

Since they didn't force you to go to their school, they claim they can enforce any policies they want and you can always leave if you don't like it.

Strangely enough, many high schools have even worse policies, and they can't claim the same - high school students are forced to attend. But (most) parents don't seem to care, they have the attitude that turning school into a maximum security prison will protect their kids, instead of realizing that prisons create criminals and make it worse for those wanting to 'learn' and have 'fun'.

Re:Linux acceptability (2)

Da Penguin (122065) | more than 13 years ago | (#432311)

Ask them why they say that about Linux
There are many misconceptions floating around about this "hacker OS"

University policys (1)

jefferylawrence (316133) | more than 13 years ago | (#432312)

I work in the IS deptment of a large university. Our IS management is so big on privicy that they will not allow virus scanning of servers and e-mail. This is nice from a policy point, but very difficult to explain to users why the lastest (and not so latest) virus has just eaten thier hard drive and thier research data. We also do not run firewalls, because they limit "accadmic freedom". Of course users machines are being hacked on a regular basis. While people are concered about their privicy, there also needs to be a balance on preserving users data.

Re:Legal Recourse? (1)

TheWhiteOtaku (266508) | more than 13 years ago | (#432314)

Unfortunately, you have almost no legal ground to stand on. There are almost NO limitations on how a private corporation can violate your rights, if you give them permission. If this is a public University (Clemson right?), you might have some options if they try to limit your freedom of speech (say the revoke your account because you posted uncomplimentary statements about the school.) Then you could sue. But if they are just making sure no one is using their connection for kiddie-porn, illegal hacking, etc, then theres not much you can do (or should do, really, since its harmless to you).

Web Traffic (1)

The-Pheon (65392) | more than 13 years ago | (#432315)

All web traffic at my school (www.wisc.edu) goes through a transparent web proxy. Aside from the fact that i often get cached pages that have been updated since last transfered, i am also wondering about their ability to track which sites i frequent. Soon they will think i am a computer hacker since i post to the infamous /. and sieze my computer! =D

But it is their network and they can have whatever usage policy they deem fit. Is there any way to assure myself privacy?

Re:WHAT THE FUCK DOES THAT MEAN? (2)

Millennium (2451) | more than 13 years ago | (#432316)

The "ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US" quote comes from ZeroWing, one of the worst-translated games in existence. It is generally followed by "YOU ARE ON THE WAY TO DESTRUCTION!"

The proper response, by the way, is "WHAT YOU SAY?!"

There's a fandub of the opening floating around the Net; check it out if you can find it.
----------

Re:Sounds Okay to me. (1)

0DIN (316130) | more than 13 years ago | (#432317)

If there is no privacy in school's or business then the goverment should take away are privacy. There is no freedom with out privacy. My E-mail is none of anyone's busines.

Dorm Use as home (1)

SlamMan (221834) | more than 13 years ago | (#432318)

At UMCP, we've got a fairly reasonable AUP, as far as most college's go (http://www.inform.umd.edu/CompRes/NEThics/aug/) if you care to read it. However, the parts of are issue, mostly: Computing resources are provided to support the academic research, instructional, and administrative objectives of the University. These resources are extended for the sole use of University faculty, staff, students, and other authorized users ("users") to accomplish tasks related to the user's status at the University, and consistent with University's mission. My issue is that anyone living int he dorms here spend close to 24/7 on campus (exculding jobs and such), and of course nobody spends all thier waking hours doing work. Should the AUP's of colleges simply be written this way to CYA, or should they be appropriate to actual usage and policing?

Drexel University Acceptable Use Policy questions (2)

FKell (253556) | more than 13 years ago | (#432319)

In the acceptable use policy http://www.drexel.edu/IRT/policies/acceptableUse.h tml [drexel.edu] , the following are stated:

2. Accounts are assigned to individuals and are not to be shared unless specifically authorized. You, the user, are solely responsible for all functions performed from accounts assigned to you. Anything done through your account may be recorded. It is a violation of University Policy to allow others to use your account. It is a violation to use another person's account, with or without that person's permission.

According to Drexel, this also not allowing other people to even SIT at your computer and USE it. It also, according to them, means you CAN NOT run LINUX and give an account to a friend. The way I read this rule is that you can not give away your username and password to the DREXEL accounts! I would need to give out my username and password to the email server, or to one of the UNIX systems to be in violation of the rule, which I believe is absolutely fine. But they are trying to twist it so that if your computer is connected into the network, all access to that system is restricted to you and you alone, and I feel that this is absolutly unacceptable. Especially when I do in fact pay for this service with the room and board.
And they are in fact enforcing this on Linux systems. 2 of my friends have been sanctioned for running Linux (one of them had given an account to his younger brother, the other was just running Linux and his system was hacked, so they SANCTIONED HIM for GETTING HACKED!!!).

The other part that I have a question on is this:

8. You may not attempt to bypass computer or network security mechanisms without the prior express permission of the owner of that computer or network system. Possession of tools that bypass security or probe security, or of files that may be used as input or output for such tools, shall be considered as the equivalent to such an attempt.

Now in this rule, they first state that you MAY attempt to probe security if you have the express permission of the person's computer or network that you are probing. This seems perfectly reasonable. But, in the very next sentence they then state that having and software of devices that are used to probe systems will be considered a violation of the acceptable use policy. Now, I am a UNIX network administrator. I have EVERY RIGHT to own devices and software that will probe systems for I regularly check both my own systems, and those at my work from my home computer. I also from time to time will probe some of my friends systems when they as me to (the case of my friend who was hacked I did indeed probe his system). I have never probed any system other then ones I have been authorized to do so, but according to the policy, even though I have authorization, I can't own any software or devices that do the probing!!!

If I had the choice, I would NEVER AGREE to this policy. But I do NOT have a choice. If I was able to get xDSL, or cable modem service, or a T1 (hell even a modem), I WOULD DO SO. But we as students are not allowed to get any of these in the dorms. The phone system we use does not allow modems. We can not get xDSL because we can not choice our phone service. And we can not get cable modems because do not get cable (have very poor satellite service with Direct TV, in which we get ~30 channels).

What options do we have other then to take whatever crap they feel like dishing out? I never even realized how bad the policy was until my friend was hacked several months ago.

His system was completely compromised (they had root access). They then used his system to hack other systems. The IT center at Drexel cut his connection (I agree with them doing this), but then without even doing ANY investigation, they brought him up on charges of mis-use of a computing device, and attempted hacking. This would have DEVISTATED ANY chances of him getting a job in the future (Computer Science major). He came to me right away looking for any help. His logs were wiped, but we had a seperate log that we setup that periodically captured all processes running. In that log I found an in.telnet process that someone was logging in as root from an IP outside IP address. Using this, I then traced the connection back to an address owned and run by Shaw Cable Modem services, out of Maryland, USA. Even with this information the IT department would not believe that he was hacked, and they were going through with the charges. The worst part of it was that the IT department was SURE to have logs of the access to the machine, but they REFUSED to even look at them for us, for this would PROVE that he had been hacked. Not until I got help from my computer ethic's professor were we able to work out the situation.

He was still sanctioned for running LINUX, and getting hacked! He had to do 20 hours of work for the University, just for running Linux. Now this is an OUTRAGE!


P.S. for those that want to know, his system was compromised with the buffer-overflow security hole in wu-ftpd-2.6.0. I am 99% positive that this is how they gained access.

Re:You have no reasonable expectation of Privacy . (1)

addaon (41825) | more than 13 years ago | (#432320)

Chalk this up to one of those "Well, DUH" kind of things. I don't even understand why this is attracting attention. Lack of Privacy in your home I can understand. Spyware on your personal machine I can understand. But privacy issues in SCHOOLS? Come on ...

What about those of us at state-run, public schools, who are required to stay in the dorms first year? Are you saying that, by going to college, I am giving up my right to privacy?

Re:You have no reasonable expectation of Privacy . (1)

dialect (75360) | more than 13 years ago | (#432321)

Right, when you drive on the roads, you don't expect privacy in your own vehicle. Oh, hmm ... wait, you do?

There is a reasonable expectation of privacy in your vehicle, to the extent that police officers need to observe probable cause before they search your vehicle. Is there an analagous situation for computers? I certainly expect privacy on my computer. (Wether thats legally enforceable is another question)

So when I put my computer onto a publically funded school network, is there a case to be made that I have reasonable privacy rights unless I'm driving dangerously (i.e. eating up massive bandwidth or pinging every machine on the school net...)

Different Rights for Students and Smployees? (1)

bmasel (129946) | more than 13 years ago | (#432322)

A few years back a graduate assistant at U of Wisconsin was ordered to cease using his University account to email members of the City Council, under Statutes forbidding use of State facilities for Lobbying.... Should Public Universities place different levels of online Speech restriction on Students and Staff? Since Legislators' email boxes reside State Systems, would ANYONE Emailing them be in violation?

Inventive students don't help (3)

judd (3212) | more than 13 years ago | (#432323)

Long ago I worked at a University where the computer use regulations were phrased so that we could bust you for more or less anything we liked. No one was happy about this, but there was a reason: the arms race of CS students vs administrators.

As soon as we prohibited antisocial activity X, clever students would come up with equivalent activity Y which would not be covered by the original wording, but caused similar (or worse) harm. It turned out that it was terribly difficult to clearly delineate what was and was not acceptable use of the campus facilities in a way that was actually useful (ie protected the privacy of staff and students, allocated server resources fairly, protected the Uni from legal liability). So we gave up :(

Classic quote: "Our firewall isn't there to protect the campus network from the outside world. It's there to protect the rest of the world from our students."

Public funding. (3)

killbill (10058) | more than 13 years ago | (#432324)

University network administrators accept limited public funds to provide a particular subset of functionality to meet particular goals of the university. They have a great many technical and legal constraints (both internal and external) on their solutions. Many of these constraints are legitimately addressed by privacy intrusive policies.

When publicly available dial up and broadband access is cheap and universal, why should a taxpayer funded institution have any obligation to incur extra expense to achieve "freedom"? Why not let the individuals who value freedom buy and use the services that meet their goals, and let the taxpayer funded institutions buy the services that meet the goals of the funding (taxpayer / university) community?

Re:Get used to it... (1)

w1kL3f (316139) | more than 13 years ago | (#432325)

"All e-mail, calls, AND video monitoring are *standard* for most companies"??? (emphasis mine). I don't know who you work for, but if I were you I'd start looking for alternative employment...

Re:My college has an archaic censorship system... (1)

da' WINS pimp (213867) | more than 13 years ago | (#432326)

"Netware 10"- WTF are you talking about? FYI- The oldest version of Netware (that a window$ box can talk to) is Netware 3.10, the newest is NW5.1

It's not the NetWare that is your problem. It's the administrators. IMIO, even old Netware versions are some of the most stable, reliable, and secure file server operating systems on the market- as long as the administrator knows what's what. The newer (Netware 4.11-.12,5 and 5.1) are almost bullet proof. I administer 2 NW servers supporting about 3000 users, one of which has been in continuous operation for almost 4 years.

Inferring that win2K would be better is a troll (and a very poorly informed one at that...), and suggesting that someone replace what is obviously a file server with a BSD box has to be a joke... BSD and Linux both can be used as file servers but why would you want to? There are other OSs that are much more suited to the task.

Re:Legal Recourse? (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 13 years ago | (#432327)

Perhaps not legal recourse, but there is allways technicalogical recourse. Use encryption. A lot. For everything, or at least as often as is practical (you may not be able to encrypt your assignments if your professers don't have keys). You can at least digialy sign your documents.

But don't stop there. Work around campus to advocate the use of encryption to the entire student (and instructor) population. Eventualy, even your assignments can be encrypted.

Remember, encryption is not just for terrorsits, its for normal people, too.


------

Re:College's vs Corporations (1)

SlamMan (221834) | more than 13 years ago | (#432328)

Well, some argument could be made about the way the moeny flows. At school, I'm paying to be there, And my money suports thier actions. At work, They pay me to be there, and their moeny supports my (in)action.

Nothing's more changing than constancy. (2)

blair1q (305137) | more than 13 years ago | (#432329)

Ever since Mario Savio and the Free Speech Movement invented the American Campus Protest in the mid-60s, universities have been displaying their hypocrisy in the battle of expression and curiosity vs. presentation and mind-control.

But they're in a bind. They've taken enormous money from ten thousand loudmouthed societal newbies, and see it as an expensive proposition to have to compete with them for public-relations on a level playing field. They don't want to have to present the counterargument to every argument the kiddies devise. So they resort to the muzzle. And then justify it in strange, hypocritical ways that make you wonder if they missed the last 250 years of the history of political freedom.

Mario got that. He worked via enlightened negotiation. The protest culture that followed didn't get it. They just saw the struggle as a big party and wanted it to continue. Bitching is fun. Solving society's problems is work. Divisiveness is self-empowering. Not everyone takes the time to respect your rights. Four dead in O-hi-o.

The moral: Emotional acts, fameseeking, and pavlovian drives are barriers to progress in conflict resolution.

--Blair

That is EXACTLY what I am saying. (2)

SuperRob (31516) | more than 13 years ago | (#432330)

Yes ... by going to a public (or even a private school) you are giving up your right to privacy. People might argue the point with me, but that's how I view it.

Never assume you have privacy, especially when you KNOW you aren't in complete control over that privacy. If there's more than one key to your house/dormroom, assume that key can be used.

If mail service doctrine was written today (1)

Goose3254 (304355) | more than 13 years ago | (#432332)

...there would be no guarantee of privacy on snail mail. America has become a caricature of itself. Freedom has been eroded in all counts. When freedom is traded for safety, society suffers.

Re:Get use to it... (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 13 years ago | (#432333)

Well it seems a lot of people care about it, and I'm not sure why you would advocate "just give up". There seems no possible gain from this stance.

I think private freedom is the most serious issue at stake here (assuming basic needs are met, which is definately the case). Is making more money more important than freedom?

Many of the founders of the US thought that personal freedom was valuable enough to risk losing their life or property.

It seems you just want to believe you can't do anything, so that you don't have to take action. And this consumer attitude you call "reality 101" - in fact it's just being lazy.

When is network logging an invasion of privacy? (1)

jrifkin (100192) | more than 13 years ago | (#432334)

I've written some network monitoring/logging software [sourceforge.net] at the University where I work. Some people have suggested that it might invade people's privacy. What do you think?

Is logging only TCP/IP headers (ip addresses/ports/packet size) an invasion of privacy? How about if we log packet data as well? What if this data is deleted after a fixed interval and only looked at when there's evidence of a security problem? Under what circumstances would you see traffic logging as a problem?

Thanks.

It's not a post office or a library (4)

osgeek (239988) | more than 13 years ago | (#432335)

Oddly enough, these sorts of policies are in place even at schools that would never dream of snooping on students' postal mail or the books they read at the library.

That analogy can only go so far. The thing you have to remember with Internet access is that the potential for abuse is so great.

How can you abuse the post office? Get a lot of mail? Since all mail delivered is paid for through postage, receiving more mail just means more business for them.

How can you abuse the Library (assuming you don't just destroy books or not return them, which are against "the rules" anyway)? One person can only read so many books. You really would have to go out of your way to abuse a library so that it's noticeable to a large percentage of the libary's users.

How can you abuse a computer network?
  • I could set up a couple of hard-core porn sites on the campus network and bring it to its knees.
  • I don't even need porn. I could decide to start mirroring Yahoo and /., or maybe CPAN and RedHat.
  • I could start spamming people with product literature for some piece of software that I've written, sending out tens of millions of pieces of email through the servers.
  • I could engage in DoS battles with others on the net.

In short, networking technology is just ripe for abuse, and having been an administrator at an ISP, I know that there is always that 1% of the people out there who will greedily waste 90% of everyone's shared resources without even being embarrassed.

Because of that high abuse potential, network administrators need policies that allow them take action when there's a problem. I admit that it's not an ideal situation, but for now it's a compromise position that a lot of us who are just innocently going about our business are willing to deal with.

One solution might be to make up and enforce heavy-handed rules for every aspect of Internet use. Set things up so that all of the machines on campus have very small individual pipes to the backbone. Heavily restrict server space, mailbox size, and firewall the hell out of everything. Lock up the whole network nice and tight... but that sucks too.

Face it, it's not an easy problem to solve. Shaking our fists in the air at network administrators who are just trying to maintain a stable network that is available for all of their users is unfair and counterproductive.

It would be nice if eventually the technology automatically prevented some chances for abuse. It'd be nice if our culture embraced a system of ethics that would make such safeguards unnecessary.

Instead of just carping at authority in a typically /. fashion, how about proposing ways that the systems can be improved so that these kinds of stiff measures aren't necessary. Why is there such a problem with acknowledging that there are two sides to every problem and that solutions of value can only be reached by respecting everyone's goals?

Re:Tough Shit (1)

Thangorodrim (258629) | more than 13 years ago | (#432337)

Whoever said that Internet access was a right? Tuition pays for alot of things, but most often it does not pay for internet access. Do any of you honestly think that forking over $20 or $40 or even $100 a semester pays for a 10M ethernet connection? Take a reality check. Most colleges are providing access for RESEARCH and ACADEMIC PURPOSES, not ENTERTAINMENT. If the students were to be charged for the amount of bandwidth they used, they'd be paying $1000's of dollars a month. My cable modem with Mediaone costs $40 a month at 1.5M. Students get a 10M switched ethernet connection for $35 every 4 months. Do the math. -Thang

My School still respects us... In theory (1)

madoc69 (316102) | more than 13 years ago | (#432338)

Just spent 30 minutes finding (not easy) and reading the policy for my campus. Privacy is in theory absolute... but we all know pratice and theory are two different things.

Re:Get use to it... (1)

Hellraisr (305322) | more than 13 years ago | (#432339)

The problem here is that when you're going to a college or university you are paying to use their computers. So why in hell should you have to pay someone for computer access and not have full access and/or have them read your email? I agree with you in regards to business, as they do have a right to know what their employees are doing.. because they are paying them. But at school it is the reverse.. you are paying the school for their services. I think schools often forget that they are a service and the students are clients, not a company with employees

Re:You have no reasonable expectation of Privacy . (1)

Crawl (11785) | more than 13 years ago | (#432340)

I'm an RA here at Miami University [muohio.edu] and I can state that, at least here, your room is considered your own private space. Even as an RA, I may not enter a student's room without his/her permission. And once in the room, I may not look in fridges, closets, dressers, etc. without permission. Even the campus cops (who are fully sworn-in officers) may not enter or search a room without permission from the student (or a warrant, of course). I've seen the cops have to get signed waiver sheets from residents before searching their rooms.

Your room is treated as your own private space here, and it should be/is that way everywhere else.

Schools think they're corporations. (1)

Hellraisr (305322) | more than 13 years ago | (#432341)

The problem here is that when you're going to a college or university you are paying to use their computers. So why in hell should you have to pay someone for computer access and not have full access and/or have them read your email? I agree with you in regards to business, as they do have a right to know what their employees are doing.. because they are paying them. But at school it is the reverse.. you are paying the school for their services. I think schools often forget that they are a service and the students are clients, not a company with employees

Same a Drexel University, people are sanctioned... (1)

FKell (253556) | more than 13 years ago | (#432342)

for running Linux as their OS on campus. I also and fighting the good fight, and so far am winning the small battles. Especially since Drexel's big claim is to "Be the most technologically advanced networked university in the country." And with this a small amount of Press Coverage about them restricting people to a specific OS would be REALLY bad for the university. What you can do is try and tip off some of the news agencies in the area, or places like Wired.com (I would mention ZDnet.con / TechTV.com, but they are pretty much owned by Mircosoft). You never know, a bit of bad publicity for the University goes a LONG way to getting them to fix things for the better.

gimme a break! (1)

Ender Ryan (79406) | more than 13 years ago | (#432343)

You PAY to attend college, why in hell should they practically OWN you when you are attending? That is completely ridiculous! You PAY to live in a dorm, should it not be treated like an apartment? Legally, it's their property, you sign a contract to attend or whatever... however, legal issues be damned, I don't give a fuck what the legal issues are that's just plain not right.

Re:Do they have these rights to with snail-mail? (1)

Maserati (8679) | more than 13 years ago | (#432344)

Geeze, I thought a week in the mail (each way) between Phoenix and Tucson was bad ! On the behalf of everyone who's so much as watched a Wildcats game on the tube, I salute you.

Re:University of Illinois (1)

madoc69 (316102) | more than 13 years ago | (#432345)

Its sad to see UIUC come to this... even thought this a few years, best I rememeber it was take all you need when I was there. But smile... You can still get the best pizza in the world at Garcia's, can't you?

Re:Legal Recourse? (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | more than 13 years ago | (#432346)

A while ago, 5 Orthodox Jewish guys threatened to sue Yale for making them live in the dorms for two years. I don't know if it even went to court. It's a little different situation, but the lack of an "opt out" was the core issue.

At a private school, the "opt out" would probably be "don't go to that school". The fact that Mystery U is public makes it more complicated.

-B

ConsumptionJunction rules

Re:College's vs Corporations (2)

Zachary Kessin (1372) | more than 13 years ago | (#432347)

Well there should be, my computer here at the office bellongs to the company, it exists for use on work based products. In theory my boss could say no personal email etc. However your computer in your dorm room at school is yours. And a university has a much broader scope than a company. A university exists to promote education.

In general a university should allow the most open use of its network posible. Now this may in some occations entail limiting access to some systems as so not to overwealm the net, but in general things like mail/usenet and web should be as open as posible.

I'm begining to think that they should let the post office regulate email.

Or I should sign all me email with the decree of Rabbi Grishiom. He was the 10th century rabbi who first said that a courier should not read the mail he was carring for people.

Re:What about anti-monopoly issues (1)

Garfunkel (3569) | more than 13 years ago | (#432348)

go to a different university?

Seriously. If one U's policy is that offensive to you, don't support it and go to a different place. If enough people did this and cited why they left, I would bet that policies would get changed pretty quick. Universities and Colleges need students to operate, they don't want to drive them away.

Re:That is EXACTLY what I am saying. (1)

alprazolam (71653) | more than 13 years ago | (#432349)

how are you giving up your privacy by going to a school? by buying something are you giving up your privacy? only if you sign an agreement that says so. so why should you be forced to give up your privacy to go to school. should the everybody be forced to give up all privacy?

Stay on Topic ... (2)

SuperRob (31516) | more than 13 years ago | (#432350)

I'm not talking about personal housing, even if they are state-owned. I'm talking about colleges and specifically, dorms.

If you are living in a home that no one but your family has access to, you have a reasonable expectation of privacy. That's different.

Think about this ... when you live at a college, think of all of the people who have access to your dorm, mail, etc. The number is staggering.

Re:What if you are NDA'd and use the computer netw (1)

Patrick McRotch (314811) | more than 13 years ago | (#432351)

Hmmm. Hardware designs...consortium...not disclosing ideas to others...I've got it! He works for Rambus!

Search and Seizure @ Kent State (1)

cecil36 (104730) | more than 13 years ago | (#432352)

It was reported on Slashdot that a Kent State University student is facing charges for alleged misuse of university network services (read the original article here [slashdot.org] ). I have seen many different sides to this story. One side is indicating that the student in question here should be free of all wrongdoing because of what was claimed to be "tools used to commit computer crime" turned out to be nothing more than the game Starcraft. The other side is that since this student's actions disrupted network services across the residence halls, this student should be punished accordingly. How would you rule on this case if you were the judge presiding over the matter?

Web Filtering and Whats on my box is mine (2)

forkspoon (116573) | more than 13 years ago | (#432353)

Can a university filter or block incoming http requests through a proxy and record outgoing responses? If they can, which universities do and which don't? Can a university come in my room and say "we have reason to believe you are breaking the law" and take my box and look in it and do what they want with it? In a more general sense, can they seize my property while I'm on campus? Which schools do this? Thanks, Travis forkspoon@hotmail.com

I am violating my school's policy by posting this. (4)

SkyIce (184974) | more than 13 years ago | (#432354)

Take a look at my school's AUP at http://www.exeter.edu/publications/ebook/datavoice video.html . Some interesting quotes:
No pseudonymous or anonymous messages may be sent. Students should be careful not to give out personal information over the Internet.

Accessing the accounts and files of others is prohibited.

Students may be held accountable for their actions while off-campus and thus for messages posted from off-campus accounts.

Academy network resources, including all telephone and data lines, are the property of the Academy. The Academy will, to the extent possible, respect privacy of all account holders on the network. However, the Academy is responsible for investigating possible violations of and enforcing all Academy rules governing the network. Academy network users should, therefore, keep in mind that the Academy reserves the right to access any information stored or transmitted over the network.

But nowhere in it does it mention the search of a personal computer. Somehow, last week, on mere suspicion, my and three other kids' computers were seized and held for a few days while the network administrator attempted to track down the source of network troubles. He ultimately failed, but in the process noticed that I was using a different IP address and hostname other than the one I had been assigned. The case was sent to the discipline committee under "Theft of IP address" and I am now on probation for eight weeks. My dorm room's port was activated "with restrictions" yesterday, and they now want me to e-mail them a list of every program I want to download so that they can verify it. Was this even legal? What can I do to stop something like this from happening in the future?

Protecting Against Abuse (1)

omnirealm (244599) | more than 13 years ago | (#432356)

My university recently blocked Napster ports, because Napster use was using 46% of the total bandwidth available to the campus. This is largely due to a handful of individuals who were hosting dozens of gigabytes of MP3's to the rest of the world. Now, because of their irresponsible actions, none of us have access to this service. Perhaps the right to arbitrarily disable accounts isn't such a bad one to give the admins.

Re:Linux acceptability (4)

Sethb (9355) | more than 13 years ago | (#432357)

It's also quite likely that they didn't want you to start installing Linux for a bunch of students who couldn't manage it themselves. The last thing that the typically overworked and underpaid university IT staff need are 2000 Linux newbies flooding the help line and support desks with questions about Linux on their dorm computers.

That said, I don't think they can, or should, discourage a student group from forming. They may, however, ask you to make it clear to anyone that you give Linux to, that they're not going to receive any help from the support staff, other than being assigned an IP address...
---

Access denial? (1)

Jester998 (156179) | more than 13 years ago | (#432358)

At my high school (actually these policies are in effect for the whole school board), we're not allowed to check email - HoTMaiL, Yahoo!, POP3 accounts, nothing. We also aren't allowed to use forums (Slashdot is one exception that I've seen.) And chat lines, are definitely out. However, teachers have their own POP3 accounts (I believe they are hosted on our school board's servers) and I have seen MANY teachers checking their accounts at school.
Our comp. sci. teacher allows us to check mail, etc (and he even made a Yahoo! group for our class... there are loopholes that we've found that allow such access), but only during class... if we're caught by the network admins while in the computer labs, it's a warning, then an account suspension... anywhere from 3 days to indefinitely.
My question is this: Do you think students SHOULD have access to tools such as these? For example, the Yahoo! groups have so far been a tremendous boon to the class, as I can log on and share information at 3:30am if I wish. I realize that the possibility for abuse exists, but would the benefits outweigh the possible abuse? Do you see any form of electronic communication (forums, email, whatever) as a viable teaching and education tool for use in schools? I have heard of some high schools providing email access for their students, but said students must sign a form allowing the school's administration to regularly review their email (and other) messages... what are your views on this type of moderation / restriction? I look forward to your reply! - Peter
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