Thursday, February 11, 2016

More on the UC spyware system

From Inside Higher Ed:
Faculty members in the UC system have been up in arms since Ethan Ligon, associate professor of agricultural and resource economics at the Berkeley campus, last month revealed that the university system in August installed network-monitoring hardware and told IT staffers to keep it a secret.
The network-monitoring program, Ligon wrote, can log all the traffic coming and going on the university’s network and store it for 30 days. “This can be presumed to include your email, all the websites you visit, all the data you receive from off campus or data you send off campus,” he added.
Since then, as faculty members have needled the UC system Office of the President for what they say is a lack of transparency, new details about cybersecurity measures have emerged...
Cybersecurity experts said the security measures at the UC system are no more restrictive than those seen elsewhere on the Internet. The university's lack of communication, however, is drawing criticism from privacy advocates...
In an email, Ligon said he disagreed with the comparison. The issue is not the act of collecting information about users, he wrote, but what that information can be used for.
“It’s a tool, which can be put to good ends or bad ends,” he wrote. “It happens to be quite a powerful tool for monitoring data, so it could be put to very bad ends. Whether the ends are good or bad depends entirely on the policy (e.g., things that are searched and stored) implemented on the device. And here's the central point: that policy is not under the control of Berkeley IT staff.”...

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