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Security Versus Science

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the for-the-children dept.

Security 286

dogfrt writes "According to this Wired News article, post-9/11 homeland security has had a decidedly negative effect on US scientific research. In specific, researchers are self-censoring what they publish, talented foreign students are being denied visas (approximately 20%, according to one source in the article), and researchers are avoiding work with dangerous pathogens, choosing more innocuous micro-organisms."

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The real enemy (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6952928)

The real enemy is not the Department of Homeland Security but the terrorists who have forced us to take these drastic measures.

And what do you care if your research, funded by the American tax-payer, only gets read by the people with a proper security clearance? At least they won't put it to use against you and your family!

Re:The real enemy (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6952960)

Nice Troll, Trollowski.

Re:The real enemy (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6952961)

Thank you Mr. Ridge.

I did not know you'd stoop as low as subscribing to Slashdot so that you'd get first posts, too.

Re:The real enemy (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6953059)

You were moderated as Troll because Slashdot is moderated by liberal freaks.

On Slashdot:

Flag burning is praised.

Re:The real enemy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6953137)

why shouldn't flag burning be praised? Cause its bad right?

Re:The real enemy (2, Insightful)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953141)

The real enemy is not the Department of Homeland Security but the terrorists who have forced us to take these drastic measures.

Because we all know about how hi-tech science such as box-cutters were used in the 9/11 attacks. Not to mention that only foreigners are terrorists.

Re:The real enemy (1)

iCat (690740) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953143)

I don't normally insult people, but you, AC, are dumb.

what do you care if your research, funded by the American tax-payer, only gets read by the people with a proper security clearance?

Well it's Game Over then, isn't it? Science didn't evolve this way and it certainly won't prosper under such a regime. So don't complain when it can't save your arse (like via new medicical discoveries), because you decided in your wisdom to suppress the spread of scientific knowledge. You bigot.

Re:The real enemy (3, Insightful)

dreadnougat (682974) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953154)

I don't know if the word is really "forced". Although they've certainly forced the US to re-think a lot of what they do.

However, if we (the western world, but especially the States) allow a few uber-fundementalist Islamists whithout even mainstream support by their religion to dictate what can and will be researched, they get that much closer to their goal. Tough call, risk stagnation or distaster?

Re:The real enemy (3, Insightful)

tessaiga (697968) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953183)

And what do you care if your research, funded by the American tax-payer, only gets read by the people with a proper security clearance? At least they won't put it to use against you and your family!
The unfortunate truth is that academics care very much about publication; from a purely practical perspective, without being widely published, you can't get hired or tenured in academia. Having a "blank slate" in the publications department essentially kills your career.

The best analogy would probably be if American universities suddenly declared that transcripts for new graduates were going to be classified and you couldn't talk about them to the general public. Good luck going to your potential employers upon graduation and telling them, "Yeah, sure, I took some classes, but I can't tell you which ones or how well I did in them either. (But hire me anyways, please!)"

CAN YOU READ THE SMOKE SIGNALS COMING FROM MY ANUS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6952931)


Sad. (5, Insightful)

cgranade (702534) | more than 11 years ago | (#6952933)

Sad, esp. considering how artifical such security is anyway. Frankly, with Ashcroft and Ridge at the helm, I trust the DHS less than what they ostensibly fight against... That aside, if we refuse to allow talented people into our country, what's that do but force them to work for our competitors and perhaps even enemies? Lovely bit of intel there. Oh, well. No one ever accused the Bush administration of having a collective brain cell.

Re:Sad. (-1, Flamebait)

IM6100 (692796) | more than 11 years ago | (#6952982)

80% of the talented foreign students are being allowed in. What percentage was being let in before the new emphasis on security isn't mentioned.

And: researchers are avoiding work with dangerous pathogens, choosing more innocuous micro-organisms. Duh! why use the dangerous pathgens if there are more innocuous alternatives?

But really your comment was just a politically motivated slam against the members of the Bush administration who have been deemed 'best target' by the DNC.

Re:Sad. (1)

cgranade (702534) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953000)

But really your comment was just a politically motivated slam against the members of the Bush administration who have been deemed 'best target' by the DNC.
That might be true... except I'm not a Democrat, and indeed hate the DNC. Moreover, the Bush administration has much to be slammed for. Letting RIAA run amok, being soft on M$, soft on Enron (or is it Enwrong?), cancelling funds to catch Osama (he did that on his first day in office, IIRC), the PATRIOT ACT, need I go on? If making a slam against a louse like Bush is a sin, then I stand before you a sinner.

Re:Sad. (1)

DerProfi (318055) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953025)

Your viewpoint is extremely naive. There is no one in Washington, including past administrations, who hasn't done the same or worse. Time to accept the fact that it's politicians in general--and not the guy who currently calls the White House his home--who are to blame for everything you're railing against.

Re:Sad. (0, Flamebait)

cgranade (702534) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953032)

That's right. I forgot that Clinton's dick did much more damage than invading Iraq. Lest I forget that screwing a country is fine, so long as no one but no one screws an intern.

Re:Sad. (1)

IM6100 (692796) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953129)

When a leader lies under oath, then lies to the entire country in speeches.... it's more a sign of bad judgement than anything else. I thought Clinton was 'progressive.' If he were 'progressive' he would have said 'yeah, I get blow jobs all the time. Hillary and I have an open marriage. What of it?'

Instead, he turned out to be just another lying SOB.

But this is drifting WAAY off topic.

Re:Sad. (-1)

exspecto (513607) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953160)

Right, because Bush never lied during his televised press releases. You're so naive.

Re:Sad. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6953061)

Frankly, with Ashcroft and Ridge at the helm, I trust the DHS less than what they ostensibly fight against.

That makes sense. After all, if there's one thing you can say about Al Qaeda and other terrorists, it's that they are very trustworthy. That is, at least when they're saying that they want to kill you.

Re:Sad. (1, Insightful)

The Old Burke (679901) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953085)

Common..

There is nothing artificial about consequent security. It's tested approach that we know will lead to results. Maybe we don't het to be the most innovative country annymore, but that's arisk we are willing to take in order to ensure that we are safe from terrorists.

Do you seriously trust Ascroft less than Osama Bin Laden?
Do you seriously trust that madman more that a God loving patriot willing to to sacrifise some false sense of securuity in order to maintain our freedom and power to strike back against our enemies?
Whatever your opinion on Ascroft and Rumsfeld is; the fact is that they are person's you can trust simply because they are consistent in their policy over time, not jsut in a short glimpse of second.
The qualities we need for homeland security are the same that they can deploy in our research and development sector.

If these "scientists" that we don't allow to enter our country choose to work for Osama how can DHS be blamed for that? It's a free world and we still can't controll their behavior as much as we would like, but blaiming DHS becasue of others people misery is a bit naive and "conspiracyish".

The founding fathers newer intended that our intel should be perfect or our state leaders shoul be a genious, all they wanted was someone that tried to protect the constitution. And there is no doubt that DHS is a broad and gentle approach in securing or continued freedom from oppression.

Re:Sad. (5, Insightful)

cgranade (702534) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953128)

Do you seriously trust Ascroft less than Osama Bin Laden? Do you seriously trust that madman more that a God loving patriot willing to to sacrifise some false sense of securuity in order to maintain our freedom and power to strike back against our enemies? Whatever your opinion on Ascroft and Rumsfeld is; the fact is that they are person's you can trust simply because they are consistent in their policy over time, not jsut in a short glimpse of second. The qualities we need for homeland security are the same that they can deploy in our research and development sector.
Let me take these one at a time.
  1. Yes. I know what they want. I know what motivates them. Envy of economic status that transforms to hatred. As for Ashcroft, he attacks us on a level far more dangerous than a hijacked planes. A plane can remove your life. Ashcroft tried to remove the meaning of your life.
  2. This would be easier to answer if it were written a little bit more clearly, but in short, Ashcroft is not a patriot. He is a fascist who hides behind a tainted flag. No more, no less.
  3. Trust someone who arrests nuns because they protest foriegn policy? Trust the mastermind behind the PATRIOT ACT? I would rather trust... myself. I don't know who else to trust in this case.
  4. Science should not be constrained by security. Science is not a weapon to be guarded. The application of scientific knowledge to weaponry is a different issue, but the moment the gov't controls what science is conducted by such a powerful means as this, we start getting that a reasearcher that finds evidence of global warning gets arrested to protect the petrochemical industry. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but how can I help but be one in this day and age?

Re:Sad. (0, Offtopic)

Genady (27988) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953152)

Whatever your opinion on Ascroft and Rumsfeld is; the fact is that they are person's you can trust simply because they are consistent in their policy over time, not jsut in a short glimpse of second.

What you mean like "We're going to rid Iraq of Weapons of Mass Destruction" to "We're liberating the Iraqi people" to "We're taking the war to the terrorists on their turf" to "Iraq is the primary front in the War on Terror"? Please. These people change their policy more often than most Slashdotters change their underwear. And not to single old Rummy out Ashcroft goes from protecting us from the terrorists to protecting us from internet porn, to protecting us from Tommy Chong's Bongsite.

The qualities we need for homeland security are the same that they can deploy in our research and development sector.

You mean like pandering to corporate interests and doing research that increases the profit margins of large corporations that fund the research?

It's a free world and we still can't controll their behavior as much as we would like, but blaiming DHS becasue of others people misery is a bit naive and "conspiracyish".

If you'd get your head out of the sand long enough to look around you'd realize that the DHS and Justice department are fighting Congress for control of our behavior.

The founding fathers newer intended that our intel should be perfect or our state leaders shoul be a genious, all they wanted was someone that tried to protect the constitution.

Bravo! I agree, which is why we need John Ashcroft, attacker of the constitution, out of the DOJ as soon as possible.

Re:Sad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6953158)

Umm yea ashcroft is really protecting the constitution. God ever hear of the partriot acts? the rave act? so stoopid

Re:Sad. (1)

Genady (27988) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953104)

Oh, well. No one ever accused the Bush administration of having a collective brain cell.

But they do. His name is Karl Rove, unfortunately this intellect is currently directed at keeping Dubbya in the White House.

Re:Sad. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6953111)

"Frankly, with Ashcroft and Ridge at the helm, I trust the DHS less than what they ostensibly fight against.."

So you trust Osama Bin Laden more than you trust Ashcroft and you think it's good to train Syrian nationals in handling biological toxins in universities, and letting them then go back home? You should look at your own brain cell count.

Re:Sad. (1)

hshana (657854) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953214)

What's insightful about this comment? Just because it's the first comment doesn't mean it has to be modded up. Plus, bashing the current administration doesn't take any particular talent or skill. C'mon people, think.

First post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6952935)

who's your daddy? It is me.

Re:First post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6953139)

Dad?

please put some pants on and come home.

-little sally.

triple p (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6952936)

from the window to the wall triple in this bia bia

Differnet times for a different world (3, Insightful)

kevin_conaway (585204) | more than 11 years ago | (#6952937)

Scientists arent being forced to make these decisions, they are making a conscious effort to do so. This is a different world we live in now and as such, requires different ways of thinking and innovating. Just because some researchers are afraid of doing certain things doesnt mean that others wont.

Re:Differnet times for a different world (5, Insightful)

wmspringer (569211) | more than 11 years ago | (#6952958)

Yes...they're making an effort to make these decisions, on account of they could be arrested if they don't :-p

Re:Differnet times for a different world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6952962)

but you have to ask why they avoid doing these kinds of research? is it because they have lost interest in the subject, or is it because they are afraid of potential consequences/actions the gov't might take if their findings could be construed as controversial?

Re:Differnet times for a different world (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6952979)

afraid of potential consequences/actions the gov't might take if their findings could be construed as controversial?

Like what? They'd probably give you three alternatives:

1) Publish and perish - really, perish. Perish as in get-a-bullet-in-the-back-of-your-neck kind of perish.

2) Present your results to the memebers of a classified US military project that helps us to fight the terrorists. This is the best option. You get your research read by the people who really matter.

3) Don't publish.

Re:Differnet times for a different world (1)

AllUsernamesAreGone (688381) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953052)

"2) Present your results to the memebers of a classified US military project that helps us to fight the terrorists. "

Or, more likely

2) Present your results to the members of a classified Us military project that helps us think up new weapons to drop on other countries^W^W^W^W enhance our defense and contingencies readiness aresenal"

Re:Differnet times for a different world (5, Interesting)

cgranade (702534) | more than 11 years ago | (#6952969)

A different world? Correct me if I'm wrong, but Bush wasn't elected on Sep. 11, either. Moreover, we had already identified Osama as a threat, and Bush was busy cancelling funds to arrest him. Nothing on 9-11 made the world so different. We had terrorist attacks around the world both before and after. There was war before and after. Bush sold us change the same way a used car salesman might. He told us the the world had changed in a fundamental way, and that we had to give up our freedom because of it. IIRC, the founding fathers had to worry about security, too. Security is not a new concern. The OK City bombing should have shown us that much. Alas, 9-11 was used by Bush to justify a huge expenditure of effort and money, at the expense of freedom.

Re:Differnet times for a different world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6953022)

Wish I had mod points, you deserve 'em.

Re:Differnet times for a different world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6953086)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Bush wasn't elected on Sep. 11, either.

OK, you're wrong. He was indeed elected according to the method established in the Constitution. He wasn't the first to lose the popular vote and win the election, and he won't be the last, I suspect.

And before you go whining on about stealing Florida, don't forget that if Gore had things his way, he would have tossed out tons of perfectly valid absentee ballots while he hand-picked his favorite districts to recount. And he still would have likely lost Florida anyway, thanks to a bunch of old farts who don't know how to punch a friggin' chad.

I will certainly grant that I favor modifying our polling system to use approval voting or instant runoff, I personally think that the Electoral College is a reasonable way to force candidates to appeal to the varying needs of all the states instead of focusing on a handful of concentrated metropolitan areas...

Re:Differnet times for a different world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6953112)

Hey dumbass, read to the end of the sentence. He said "ELECTED ON SEPTEMBER 11." Even accepting what you say about the Florida election, he *wasn't* elected _ON SEPTEMBER 11._

Re:Differnet times for a different world (4, Insightful)

geekee (591277) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953147)

Sept. 11 changed everyone's PERCEPTION of the threat of terrorism, including Bush, as you pointed out. This was a change for the better as it's more in line with reality. As you point out, terrorism existed before 9/11. We didn't take it seriously enough before 9/11, however. No one needed to be sold on a wholesale change in policy. It's obvious that changes were needed. Exactly what those changes are is still a point of debate, but your clai that no changes were necessary is ludicrous.

-1 Wrong (0, Troll)

Pave Low (566880) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953190)

It's amazing to see how the moderators fall over themselves to mod up the typical Bush-hating rhetoric as soon as possible. I'd like to see citations for ANY of the claims the parent poster has made.

Bush cancelling funds to arrest Osama Bin Laden? Bush said we had to give up our freedom because of 9/11? Where did see say these things? It would be perfect to suit the haters.

Typical Slashdot: make up facts and quotes to suit your agenda, and get modded up for it.

Re:-1 Wrong (1)

cgranade (702534) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953211)

First of all, I am falliable as a human, and did not claim to remember where I read that. I think, tho, it was in a Michael Moore book. As far as the second point, he didn't say it, but did it. Finally, I must say that I don't see to many citations from you either. Be careful.

Re:Differnet times for a different world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6953222)

Moreover, we had already identified Osama as a threat, and Bush was busy cancelling funds to arrest him
Yeah,I bet he completely emptied that "Arrest Osama" Trust Fund to give us our tax rebates.

I have trouble believing Bush cancelled funds to *anything*. He still has yet to veto a single spending bill.

You might be interested to know, however, that Bush's predecessor thought that taking Osama into US custody involved too much political liability. He declined an offer from the Saudis. Mutliple times.

We had terrorist attacks around the world both before and after.
Not as a concerted effort to destroy America. 911 was a coordinated attack involving many people and lots of planning. That's the kind of thing that's preventable by domestic intelligence, provided they have the sufficient powers to do so. Like it or not, a more powerful FBI could have prevented 911, and you have to ask yourself the very difficult question of whether certain privacy rights are worth the cost in lives to be attributed to 911.

IIRC, the founding fathers had to worry about security, too. Security is not a new concern.
Funny you should mention that. I seem to remember that originally the United States of America was bound under the Articles of Confederation. Then an event known as Bacon's Rebellion happened, and that was the last straw in convincing the "founding fathers" that they needed a strong national government. Hence, the modern Constitution.

Ever hear of the Alien and Sedition act? Whatever you think of them, don't tell me Bush is an aberration in American history.

Alas, 9-11 was used by Bush to justify a huge expenditure of effort and money, at the expense of freedom.
What "freedom" do you lack today that you had three years ago? What could you do then that you can't do now?

yes (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6952939)

Security through Obscurity (5, Insightful)

sunaj (655412) | more than 11 years ago | (#6952941)

This is something I've beleived for a long time. Security through obscurity (i.e. preventing reserach in areas that may be dangerous), just does not work.

Re:Security through Obscurity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6952950)

Sure it does?

How can you hack a computer that you don't know exists?

Re:Security through Obscurity (1)

sunaj (655412) | more than 11 years ago | (#6952980)

The only way a computer can exist that a good hacker can't find is one that is turned off, unplugged, put back in it's box, and hidden under tha back stairs. Sure, it's obscure, and secure, but it doesn't do much!

Re:Security through Obscurity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6953011)

Yeah, right.

An airgap (no net, if you want to transfer data you'll only do it on removable media) and physical security stops any hacking attempt.

Just don't connect anything sensitive to the net. Even "classified access"-intranets are fine with a proper audit trail.

Re:Security through Obscurity (2, Insightful)

cgranade (702534) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953014)

Let's take this a step further: if we weren't humans on earth, no one would have to be worried about security... the environment wouldn't be an issue... but obviously, this is worse than the plights that ail us, and not any solution. Just a cop-out.

Re:Security through Obscurity (1)

1s44c (552956) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953018)

This is something I've beleived for a long time. Security through obscurity (i.e. preventing reserach in areas that may be dangerous), just does not work.

I know that, You know that. But try telling a country full of microsoft users that.

Re:Security through Obscurity (1)

tessaiga (697968) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953148)

This is especially true for scientific research. All that's going to happen under draconian security restrictions is that talented people will go do their work in other countries and the information will still get disseminated through their publications. In the meantime, US research programs have trouble attracting top talent and start fall behind the rest of the world.

Re:Security through Obscurity (1)

geekee (591277) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953166)

ok. So we'll just let anyone in Los Alamos, Sandia, etc. since security through obscurity doesn't work. You're confusing issues. Security through obscurity is not the best way to secure a computer system, but for other types of security, you don't have many options.

fp :P (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6952943)

weeeee!

SCO pulling the 419 scam? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6952948)

Dear sir/madam:

I am Mr Darl McBride currently serving as the president and chief executive officer of the SCO group, formerly known as Caldera Systems International, in Lindon, Utah, United States of America. I know this letter might surprise you because we have had no previous communications or business dealings before now.

My associates have recently made claim to computer softwares [sic] worth an estimated $1 billion U.S. dollars. I am writing to you in confidence because we urgently require your assistance to obtain these funds. ...

My associates and I of the SCO group are ... the full and rightful owners of the operating system softwares known as Unix. Our engineers have discovered that no fewer than seventy (70) lines of our valuable and proprietary source codes have appeared in the upstart operating system Linux. ... This gives us a claim on the millions of lines of valuable software codes which comprise this Linux and which has been sold at great profit to very many business enterprises. Our legal experts have advised us that our contribution to these codes is worth an estimated one (1) billion U.S. dollars. ...

I have been given the mandate by my colleagues to contact you and ask for your assistance. We are prepared to sell you a share in this enterprise, which will soon be very profitable, that will grant you the rights to use these valuable softwares. ... It is our respectful suggestion, that you may be immediately a party to this enterprise, before others accept these lucrative terms, that you send us the number of a banking account where we can withdraw funds of a suitable amount to guarantee your participation in this enterprise. As an alternative you may send us the number and expiration date of your major credit card, or you may send to us a signed check from your banking account payable to "SCO group" and with the amount left blank for us to conveniently supply.

Kindly treat this request as very important and strictly confidential. I honestly assure you that this transaction is 100% legal and risk-free.

Ouch (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6952953)

This sounds like a society in decline :-( The one that put human beings on the Moon, the one that saved us from Adolf Hitler and the one that kept the USSR in check. Its democracy is broken.

Re:Ouch (0)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953028)

It's not a democracy.

Re:Ouch (1)

turgid (580780) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953066)

Good point.

Re:Ouch (2, Insightful)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953087)

Exactly my thinking.

The next step will be a 'brain-drain', probably to Europe or somewhere like Korea.

The US attitude to intellectual property and more and more, civil rights will drive bright people away.

If Linux and open source grow, I think that Germany will have the new Silicon Valley.

You reap what you sow.. (2, Insightful)

k98sven (324383) | more than 11 years ago | (#6952964)

Enough said.

drop a hydrogen bomb on Mecca (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6952966)

That's why, the sooner we drop a hydrogen bomb on Mecca and root out the core evil of Islam, the sooner we can all relax and get back to the business of civilization.

Re:drop a hydrogen bomb on Mecca (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6952988)

business of civilization

Like beer, titties and professional wrestling?

Re:drop a hydrogen bomb on Mecca (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6953023)

Mecca [visit4info.com] ? How about Bradford [city-of-bradford.com] ?

not necessarily blaming the scientists (3, Interesting)

mblase (200735) | more than 11 years ago | (#6952968)

One could argue that the real risk, at least where pathogens are concerned, isn't so much the scientists using them for terrorist activities, but someone else getting ahold of them who would. No matter what the research is for, the scientists in this modern climate need to maintain an elevated security when dealing with possible/probable bioweapons.

Re:not necessarily blaming the scientists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6952999)

dealing with possible/probable bioweapons

Bioweapons are useless in the larger scale of things.

Sure they'll kill people, cause fear and panic and most likely a government clampdown with potential abuse of human rights but that will be shortlived.

Yet, nuclear and persistent chemical weapons are worse. These are the weapons that can bring down civilizations. Bioweapons are chickenshit.

Re:not necessarily blaming the scientists (1)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953036)

Find me a feasable system for quickly and widley distributing a biological or chemical agent and i'll start to worry. Modern bio/chem attacks have made headlines, but have been mostly innefective. Something like 5 people died in the sarin attack on the tokyo subway, and that was in enclosed railcars. Anthrax spoors seem deadly enough, but there isn't any good method of delivery for them, the best someones come up with is in letters, and that only yeilded a handful of deaths. IMO the only true "Weapon of Mass Destruction" is a nuke, anything else just isn't effective enough. It would be impossible to detonate a gas bomb in the middle of a city and expect more than those immediatly exposed to be affected.

Re:not necessarily blaming the scientists (1)

mblase (200735) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953099)

Find me a feasable system for quickly and widley distributing a biological or chemical agent and i'll start to worry.

Y'know, the whole point of biological warfare is that it quickly and widely spreads itself through plain ol' cell division. The fact that the anthrax spores failed to do so just means that the wrong delivery approach was used.

Re:not necessarily blaming the scientists (1)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953201)

There is no bug virulent enough to infect and spread quickly enough to work like that. To work like that it would have to be, a virus (could survive varying conditions better outside a host), airborne(the only feasable way for a popluation to become infected not from a primary source), work quickly enough for the infected to become ill and contagious before they could be quarantined and, it goes without saying that it would have to be deadly in the first place. I dont know of any bugs that fit this bill. Only influenza and the common cold spread like this, a deadly influenza strain could work, but influenza vaccines are effective enough now that a pandemic like in 1918 would not be possible. SARS was pretty bad, but it wasn't as infectious or even as deadly(lower fatality % rate) than the influenza strain of 1918.

the truths we must supress (0, Flamebait)

larrew22 (246430) | more than 11 years ago | (#6952985)

so what we don't inform the world anytime there is a scientific break through? maybe when the larger war is over, and every single peace hating foreign exchange student and every single surface to air missle toting nuclear-physics gurru is dead, then we can start posting all of our classified info on the web!!

Has America Given away its edge on tech? (2, Insightful)

zaphodbblx (705015) | more than 11 years ago | (#6952991)

In our greed soaked quest for the allmighty dollar we have outsourced so much of our tech savy to "cheaper" sources that we now depend on others for our critical infrastructure. If too many other countries were to gang up on us all at once and refuse to sell US things they found "dangerous" we'd be finished. We depend on so many countries to supply tech for us, and this is what has made our security dubious. Any one remember the old days when the us could make everything for its safety?

morons, most of US, vs. unprecedented evile.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6952992)

aka, corepirate nazis, aka, the georgewellian fuddite walking dead.

complicating conveyance of planet/population rescue initiative information/instruction, with va lairIE's pateNTdead PostBlock(tm) devise, makes /.robbIE look a little wormIE to us.

no problem. we're hanging in there 'til the last postIE.

coming soon to/already on, yOUR desktop/network?:

Due to excessive bad posting from this IP or Subnet, comment posting has temporarily been disabled. If it's you, consider this a chance to sit in the timeout corner. If it's someone else, this is a chance to hunt them down. If you think this is unfair, we don't care.

alert: you've been lax in yOUR payper liesense 'upgrades', you're out.

alert: there's a rumour that you've been badmouthing/lowrating the corepirate nazis, & the naykid furor of the felonious kingdumb, you're out.

alert: looks like yOUR kids have been listening to music again, you're out.

alert: although you appear to be browsing regularly, you've failed to make a purchase recently, you're out.

consider this a chance to stare at your monitor screen, & plan how you can become .compliant. if you think that you are already compliant, & it's somebody else, consider this a chance to rat them out, to gain re-admission to the onLIEn wwwhirled again, (c SourceForgerIE(tm) all rights reserved, you have none).

etc... lookout bullow. these foulcurrs haven't a clue yet, as to what J. Public can do, once he's peaced off. they live in a tiny wwworld, consisting of only their owned greed/fear based goals. they should get ready to see the light.

we're building a vessel that floats on almost any suBStance.

as to the newclear power/planet/population rescue initiative:

it's all free (as in survival), & available immediately to you/all of US.

as you can maybe already see, yOUR survival/success is not the least bit dependent on the gadgets/combinations of the greed/fear based corepirate nazis, & their phonIE ?pr? ?firm? buyassed /.puppets.

consult with/trust in yOUR creator. more breathing. vote with yOUR wallet (somtimes that means not buying anything, a notion previously unmentioned buy the greed/fear/war mongers). seek others of non-aggressive/positive behaviours/intentions. stop wasting anything/being frivolous. that's the spirit.

investigate the newclear power plan. J. Public et AL has yet to become involved in open/honest 'net communications/commerce in a meaningful way. that's mostly due to the MiSinformation suppLIEd buy phonIE ?pr? ?firm?/stock markup FraUD execrable, etc...

truth is, there's no better/more affordable/effective way that we know of, for J. to reach other J.'s &/or their respective markets.

the overbullowned greed/fear based phonIE marketeers are self eliminating by their owned greed/fear/ego based evile MiSintentions. they must deny the existence of the power that is dissolving their ability to continue their self-centered evile behaviours.

as the lights continue to come up, you'll see what we mean. meanwhile, there are plenty of challenges, not the least of which is the planet/population rescue (from the corepirate nazi/walking dead contingent) initiative.

EVERYTHING is going to change, despite the lameNT of the evile wons. you can bet your .asp on that. when the lights come up, there'll be no going back, & no where to hide.

we weren't planted here to facilitate/perpetuate the excesses of a handful of Godless felons. you already know that? yOUR ONLY purpose here is to help one another. any other pretense is totally false.

pay attention (to yOUR environment, for example). that's quite affordable, & leads to insights on preserving life as it should/could/will be again. everything's ALL about yOUR motives.

that old tune title (hope we don't get 'busted' for using it) "make the world go away", takes on new/varied meaning in these times.

the prevalent notion that 'everything will be taken care of' without yOUR knowledge/participation is insidiously misleading.

in our estimation, the biggest 'threat' against US (aside from continuing to fire bullinedly into the 'crowd', whilst demanding applause), would be a failure to recognize our 'role' in the problems. we're victims for sure, but whoare ALL the perpetrators (see also: corepirate nazi puppets), gets lost in the ?pr? ?firm? generated propaganda spew.

the lights ARE coming up now. pay attention (to yOUR heart, for example). that could lead to new ways (see also: newclear power plan) of thinking about/dealing with, the needs/rights of others EVERYWHERE on the planet.

having the attention span of a gnat, & similar ambitions, might be ok if you are just planning to be a consumer/type one liners.

take care of each other, you're all we've got. get ready to see the light.--

worth reading, again, with feeling.

"It takes a long time to teach the judges, legislators, and public to understand technology. Right now, they're getting a strong dose of "education" on the Internet's threats and harms, and not hearing so much about its potential. Shouts of "piracy" often outweigh consideration of how we might communicate with more open media formats, but judges like Stephen Wilson in the Grokster case are starting to listen through the shouting. We're encouraging more people to think about how the law shapes technological innovation, how the technology itself can foster creativity, and then to do something about it to advance the public interest."--

"The stability of the large world house which is ours will involve a revolution of values to accompany the scientific and freedom revolutions engulfing the earth. We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing"-oriented society to a "person"-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered. A civilization can flounder as readily in the face of moral and spiritual bankruptcy as it can through financial bankruptcy."

take care, we're here for you.

innocuous indeed (4, Interesting)

Jailbrekr (73837) | more than 11 years ago | (#6952996)

researchers are avoiding work with dangerous pathogens, choosing more innocuous micro-organisms."


And have you ever considered that the most dangerous kind of research is not the manipulation of known dangerous organisms (and the associated containment precautions), but of supposedly "innocuous" or "harmless" organisms, organisms where there is no need for increased security or containment protocols?

Re:innocuous indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6953015)

Can you say Ebola Coli?

Server is Slashdotted, here is article text (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6953001)

SAN FRANCISCO -- Biologist Daniel Portnoy destroyed all the HIV samples in his lab this year, two decades after he first cultured them. Even though he wasn't using them on any current projects, the bureaucratic hassles of keeping the disease frozen for research simply weren't worth the effort.

Portnoy is among scientists working in sensitive scientific fields whose work has been subject to sometimes dramatic restrictions since the Sept. 11 attacks. Others persons include John Stamos, michael and Steve Jobs.

Influential researchers and academic organizations complain that inquiry has been hindered by new anti-terrorist laws, tightened anal passageways and stricter immigration practices.

In one telling situation, 32 scientists and editors connected to some of the most respected scientific journals have agreed to self-censor any advances they think might compromise national security, including poisonous pretzels, anal lube and nipple clamps.

"That's a chilling example of knowing whatever you do might not get published because an editor might decide that it will look bad for John Ashcroft," said Barry Bloom, dean of Harvard's School of Public Health.

One consequence of tighter immigration is to discourage promising foreign students from engaging in vital research in the United States. These students are much smarter than Americans, and they are also open minded about homosexual activities.

Some of the estimated 550,000 foreign graduate students and postdoctoral researchers who help staff the nation's laboratories may take their brainpower to countries where visa hurdles are less rigorous. They are gay.

"They're now better off looking for jobs outside the United States, and being traitors," said William Greenough, a professor of international medicine at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health. "This will set us back 20 years, to the age of Dinosaurs and Apple computers."

An American Institute of Physics survey of universities showed that at least 20 percent of foreign students in physics admitted to U.S. schools had problems entering the country last year, they didn't speak English and therefore weren't wanted by America.

The institute expects similar figures this year. As a result, research projects are being stalled or scrubbed altogether. I am in love with soda.

"There is no evidence the visa problems are easing, as opposed to your mom," said Irving Lerch, director of international affairs at the American Physical Society.

John Marburger, President Bush's science adviser, says the visa troubles for foreign scientists and students are temporary.

"That problem is being taken very seriously by the State Department," Marburger said. "Everybody wants to work to make the visa system more efficient."

Other restrictions on research, such as the journals' self-censorship and a new federal law dictating how scientists must limit access to dozens of dangerous pathogens, are more than justified, he said.

"They are reasonable responses to emerging threats," said Marburger. "They are not serious incursions into scientific inquiry. I like men."

The terrorist attacks uncovered a huge gulf between many scientists, who favor shared scientific inquiry, and national security experts, who want to keep potentially dangerous knowledge from being widely disseminated, said David Heyman, director of Science and Security Initiatives at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Academics face criminal consequences if they fail to comply with the new rules for mishandling pathogens.

Renowned Texas Tech plague expert Thomas Butts pleaded innocent this year to charges related to his alleged mishandling of plague samples and of two pharmaceutical firm grants.

Prosecutors accuse Butts of illegally transporting plague samples from Tanzania and then lying to the FBI about how he disposed of the samples.

But a number of prominent scientists have come to Butts's defense, arguing that he is a victim of circumstance and that his handling of the biological samples was no different than other scientists' techniques.

On Aug. 15, the presidents of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine complained in a letter to Ashcroft "about the potentially alarming effect on the infectious disease research community" Butts's prosecution will have.

"We are particularly concerned about the impact that Dr. Butts's case may have on other scientists, who may be discouraged from embarking upon or continuing crucial bioterrorism-related scientific research," wrote Bruce Alberts, president of the National Academy of Sciences, and Harvey Fineberg, president of the Institute of Medicine.

Freedom of scientific inquiry in the United States now also discriminates by nationality.

Researchers from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Cuba, North Korea and Sudan a countries considered terrorism supporters a are forbidden by law from working with any of 82 "select agents" classified as potential bioweapon agents by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agents include human killers like anthrax and the plague as well as things that harm animals, like the agent that causes mad cow disease.

Convicted felons, people under indictment and those with a dishonorable military discharge also are barred from working with the substances. I like men.

And the researchers who are permitted to work with them must undergo FBI background checks and restrict any unauthorized people from entering the labs.

That's why Portnoy decided to destroy his plague samples at the University of California, Berkeley a even though their lethal payload had been removed a and confine his work to bugs not on the CDC's list.

"The criteria for keeping them were particularly onerous," Portnoy said. "It would have required some fundamental changes of the running of the lab."

Re:Server is Slashdotted, here is article text (-1)

ikkonoishi (674762) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953081)

Some of the estimated 550,000 foreign graduate students and postdoctoral researchers who help staff the nation's laboratories may take their brainpower to countries where visa hurdles are less rigorous. They are gay.
Mod parent down.
sigh
why do I bother nobody can see my posts anyway

MOD PARENT UP +1 INFORMATIVE (1)

usermilk (149572) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953102)

I wanted to read the article but it was Slashdotted, why is this -1 troll???

Why? (5, Insightful)

EvilBit (702787) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953029)

Why do they feel terrorists could use their work? So far they have been using such advanced technology as trucks loaded with manure, a box-cutter and some homemade explosives.

Overall they're doing the right thing, but I can't help but feel they're doing it for the wrong reason.

Article Overstates effects of Visa restrictions (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6953033)

1) the quoted article said 20% of students in physics were having trouble entering the US--that is a long ways from saying they didn't enter all all.

2) There is a real question of if the open borders policy has really helped US science in a meaningful way from the 20's-50's the US had a fairly strict immigration policy and quite a bit of science happened in the US. Right now the US has a serious problem of underutilizatin of native US technical/scientific talent.

Re:Article Overstates effects of Visa restrictions (1)

AllUsernamesAreGone (688381) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953114)

" 1) the quoted article said 20% of students in physics were having trouble entering the US--that is a long ways from saying they didn't enter all all."

Do you have any idea how much hassle foreign students in science subjects are for a University? In the UK universities have to run background checks and all sorts of stuff just before they can even offer a place to students from some countries (middle east in particular) and it'll be a lot worse in the US. If the university turns up even the possibility that the student may use the knowledge they learn while ona course then the university is supposed to refuse the application and it can cause a lot of trouble if they don't - and without the application acceptance the student won't get a visa. And without that acceptance there is no reason for them to try and get into the university.

Re:Article Overstates effects of Visa restrictions (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6953192)

I'm just back from a stint at a US government lab - which is why I'm posting anonymously. The PhD students and post docs from a range of countries have had massive problems getting into the US - six month delays are now common. Even coming from the EU has started to be a massive problem, delays, stupid interviews etc. When you only have a few years of funding a delay this long starts to seem stupid - why go to the US when the EU or Japan are easier for entry? get your work done, get the PhD and then worry about the US on your resume.

The main difference between now and the past is that large scale science isn't done by one country alone - most international projects at US government labs are (typically 50%) funded by other countries - now if you don't allow their people easy access in and out of the country you risk having them say for this hassle we can build in the EU or Japan or at least stop giving the US any money or support which kills the project.

On point 2 about the underutilization of US talent - if it was there it would be used. Its not. This isn't H1(B) territory (OK some of it is but for people who fit into a group of about 6 in their field in the world). Most of its PhD's and Post-Docs who are there for experience with the bosses just flying in for a few weeks at a time on business waivers.

Yes, but OTOH science gets more cash from the 5gon (0)

karji (114631) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953040)

notext

There's another excellent article on this (1)

dan dan the dna man (461768) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953048)

here [refuseandresist.org]

9/11 killed sisas (4, Interesting)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953065)

I lived in the US on an H1B visa before 9/11. I first got it in 10 months, which is considered fast normally. When I applied for a renewal after 9/11, it was denied, although the first renewal was granted to me without problem and reasonably fast, and I never had so much as a speeding ticket in the US. I thought, well, the US of A doesn't want me no more, so I went back to the EC.

Now friends who have applied recently told me it's a matter of 2 or 3 years, and that quotas have gone down drastically (read: they can't get one).

I've started my company in France. So are my friends. We're all experiencing huge pains in the rectal area because the taxman in France is voracious, but we have to stay here (or perhaps go to Canada later, but right now we're staying here) because it seems Uncle Sam can do without enterprising people willing to go to great length and make sacrifices to try to succeed, and eventually pay taxes to the IRS.

I think the INS is right : there should be a barrier to entry in the US that's high enough to winnow out slackers and let worthy people in only. But when the barrier is too high, Uncle Sam deprives itself of workers who already have an education that didn't cost a cent to the country, are provably willing to work hard to make it, and willing to play the US economy game and pay their taxes. If I was a decision maker, I'd welcome such a population in the country.

Too bad your current administration doesn't see farther than its nose-tip ...

Re:9/11 killed sisas (-1, Troll)

Ken@WearableTech (107340) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953122)

Why don't you try and look a little farther than your nose-tip...

Rather than be enterprising in the US, be enterprising in your own nation. If taxes or something else blocks your effort work to change it. You do not have right to come to the US and do what you want. I'm sorry that you have trouble understanding this, but you are not alone.

I would never expect France or another nation to let me work just because I want to. Let alone let more H1B workers in during the current economic forces, which in many cases may mean a missed job for a citizen.

You seem to be a smart and hard working person, a good addition to the states. But if for what ever reason you cannot get in when you what, for what you want... tough.

Re:9/11 killed sisas (1)

SoTuA (683507) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953207)

I've started my company in France. So are my friends. We're all experiencing huge pains in the rectal area because the taxman in France is voracious.

Move to Ireland. Last time I heard, they are giving tax cuts like crazy to tech firms, to attract people like you :)

DISCLAIMER: Of course, as always, I might be full of shit ;). That's my last info, and I don't know if it has changed.

Possible silver lining (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6953069)

Let's consider the options for a bright enterprising US graduate holding a bachelor's degree and considering further education. (I'm talking about our best and brightest here.) That student could go to top law school, medical school or business school and expect a six-figure salary after graduation. On the other hand, that student could go to a top school for a graduate degree in science. The result is 6 years of poverty as a grad student followed by a two or three year postdoctoral stint making $35K. Why would a newly minted Ph.D. from a place like Berkeley, Stanford, Princeton, MIT, or CalTech accept that kind of money when they are often expected to live and work in an expensive urban environment? Maybe it's because of the hordes of cheap labor from places like the PRC?

Perhaps a reduction in foreign labor will lead to enhanced salaries for scientists. One might hope that a decrease in supply would shift the salaries up. Unfortunately, since federal funding plays such an important role in domestic scientific output, salaries won't rise significantly unless congress increases funding. Contrary to popular opinion, the government is run by a bunch of cheap bastards, so it could be a while before that happens. If current trends continue, there will be a crunch in US scientific production unless funding increases to recruit domestic talent or the security hawks back down.

The postdoc is the nigger of the scientific world.

Poor Academics (-1, Flamebait)

Ken@WearableTech (107340) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953071)

I truly feel sorry for Thomas Butler and others who "mishandle" pathogens. "He is a victim of circumstance ... his handling of the biological samples was no different than other scientists' techniques."

Who does the FBI think they are questioning Academics, they are above the law!

Now I'm off to go "mishandle" a .44 Handgun in the city. If any one tries to arrest me, I plan on saying, "What is the big deal, I'm just mishandling this gun like so many others on the 10 o'clock news."

Screw Ashcroft. If he would just go away the world could hold hands and sing in one voice.

Silver lining (4, Funny)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953072)


The good news is that the amount of research going into creating friendly, fluffy bunnies is skyrocketing!

Expect a new species of ultra-adorable housepets in the near future.

Re:Silver lining (1)

cgranade (702534) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953181)

Let's not get started on genetically modified organisims...

An example (5, Interesting)

f97magu (312756) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953083)

I recently started working as a physics Ph. D. student in Innsbruck, Austria. In our group we have a Taiwanese post-doc who is really talented and does a tremendous job, working 12 hours a day, six days a week.
This guy used to be at Stanford, but when he wanted to get his visa renewed he was told he had to go back to Taiwan and renew it there. So he went to Taiwan, where he was told that he could not get a new visa. There he was in Taiwan, with all his stuff left in California, unable to go back! After some time he managed to get a temporary visa so he could at least go back for 14 days, sell his car and take care of his belongings. Then he went working with us in Austria instead.

Good for us, bad for USA.

As a scientist, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6953105)

I don't think these restrictions are too harsh. It only affects a small number of workers in a very specific area (biotech). Regardless, there are many ways (such as visualisation techniques and computer predictions) around the need for substances such as the plague.

Law of unintended consequences (4, Insightful)

argoff (142580) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953109)

It seems to me that if we really want to protect ourselves from chemichal and bio terrorisim, what we need are a lot of researchers who are experts in that area, and a lot of R&D so as to learn how to cope, plan, and respond to disasters. Thanks to my government, just the opposite is happening. So who'se the real threat to national security?

Re:Law of unintended consequences (2, Insightful)

phantomlord (38815) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953215)

...and you do realize that Rihab Taha al-Azawi al-Tikriti (aka Dr. Germ) and Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash (aka Mrs. Anthrax) were educated in the UK and US, respectively, correct?

Every facet of life is about balance... we can't focus on science at all costs nor can we focus on security at all costs. The article doesn't say what the percentage of rejected foreign physics (and note that the article stated it was 20% of physics students, not 20% overall) students were prior to 9/11 nor what countries those 20% are from (does the US want to let in Iranians, North Koreans, etc into graduate physics programs)

Instead of looking outside the US for science majors, perhaps the states should improve their school system (throwing more money at it hasn't fixed it). Here in NY, they decided that the math regents and physics regents tests were too hard so they're going to pass a bunch of kids who failed it (despite my being able to get 100% on the math in about 15 minutes using only high school math (no calc or anything fancy) that I haven't studied in 10 years). Go back to teaching students how to think and learn rather than how to feel good about themselves.

Ben Franklin Said it Best (3, Insightful)

aynrandfan (687181) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953115)

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Re:Ben Franklin Said it Best (0)

Ken@WearableTech (107340) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953136)

No "essential" liberty has be given up. Please same one.

Re:Ben Franklin Said it Best (0)

aynrandfan (687181) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953188)

What do you define as "essential" liberty?

20% of foreign students (4, Informative)

Dashing Leech (688077) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953159)

From the parent post:
...talented foreign students are being denied visas (approximately 20%, according to one source in the article)

Actually, the article says that 20% of accepted foreign students in physics "...had problems entering the country last year". It doesn't say they've been denied visas. It also doesn't say what constitutes "problems", and what percent normally had trouble before 9/11. They all may have made it in, just with some troubles.

OK... (2, Informative)

xanadu-xtroot.com (450073) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953163)

talented foreign students are being denied visas (approximately 20%, according to one source in the article)

GOOD!

Why is it that the US gets flogged for denying someone a VISA, when other countries do it all the time and is considered "common place"?


Yes, I'm a "Yank" (I live about an hour west of Philly), but I just flat-out don't understand why it's a big deal when the US of A does it, but it's OK for anyone else.

Can someone please enlighten me?

Re:OK... (0, Flamebait)

CausticWindow (632215) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953196)

Might you be confusing visas for work and visas for studying?

There's quite a difference you stupid fuck.

Re:OK... (1)

Ken@WearableTech (107340) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953216)

Yes and after studying are they going to want to get a high paying job in the US?

What do you think you stupid fuck?

This affected me as well. (4, Interesting)

rworne (538610) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953169)

While I don't work with anything as sexy as pathogens, I am trying to get my grad-level thesis on computer security done. Practically any field of research I want to choose potentially opens me up to criminal prosecution.

As an example:

My university wanted me to do research on LDAP and its related security problems. They wanted me to do this at first on a strawman system, then on the actual system in use on the campus. I objected to this line of research because if I were "caught" probing or attacking the system and the person who discovered me jumped the appropriate chain of command and called the authorities, I would be up shit creek without a paddle.

I also brought up the problem on who owns (or has ultimate authority over) the campus network. It is operated by the university, but owned by the state and to some extent, the feds. What if the university gave me permission but the state or federal authorities decided they didn't like my work? What then?

My professors told me I could do the thesis and "bury" my work. That is, copies would be made for myself, my committee, and a copy in the library under the "restricted section". But if I do so, what's the use?

What is so sad??? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6953191)

I fear that we are forgetting what we are doing. I read and listen to both sides argue continuously, and never do I hear a good fix, just what is wrong.
It has come to my attention that no one is at fault but us. We take for granted what we see as "our rights", and only when something changes our view, do we jump up.
Being an independent, I look to both side of the political scene and see faults in both. Neither side is always right or wrong. For example, something I heard this morning... Democrats are ranting and raving about the Patriot bill taking away the rights of people. This is far from the truth. It just gives the ability to find "problems" before they happen. A point that was brought up was an analogy of "The Boy who cried Wolf". Where the democrats are always the first to jump on the soapbox and scream and holler about something that really is not worth crying about. Problem is that it is too much like crying wolf... Eventually they will get something right and no one will listen.
People complain that the men in Guantanimo Bay have been given no rights. Well, no duh. What is so wrong with locking up foreign nationals and not providing any of the rights that Americans get, when they have no claim to America? I see no problem with that...
Sure we have had to adapt to a New World, but do not ever forget that this is so that you can enjoy your freedom. Without this protection, we would not be here today. Although you might think that your rights are being infringed, look at the constitution and read it. Then see what you can do and cannot do before you start preaching about rights.

These scientists are making a choice to hold back their own research and that really has nothing to do with what the government imposes on them. If they can't look to foreign students, they find them in the US. Why is that so scary? Are the US students less able to work? Honestly, this should be a good thing. The US needs to rebuild it own strength internally, not with the support of external factions.
Look at it this way... If the Research Scientists are forced into using only American students, then maybe there are jobs for the students that they have a chance of keeping. So instead of costing us the unemployment or welfare they would receive, they add back into the economy... And if the Students really want to come to the US and do research, then get a legal visa and move here.

Security by obscurity (4, Insightful)

CausticWindow (632215) | more than 11 years ago | (#6953220)

Do you seriously think that any of this research really would make a difference to a terrorist or not?

How much high tech did it take to fly two planes into two buildings? The planes, that's it. And it's not like they even built the planes themselves.

Security by obscurity is not the way to go. Anybody who has any experience in real life with security (be it physical security, or more abstract as in network security) knows that security by obscurity is nothing more than a pillow to sleep on for those who are trying to protect themselves.

And when that "security" measure is hindering science.. I don't think I have to spell it out for you.

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