Former Homeland Security Big Sister Janet Napolitano was a crappy choice to run the University of California for many reasons. One thing that worried many of us was her propensity for snooping and invading the privacy of innocent people. And now it's come true:
UC Berkeley faculty members are buzzing over news that University of California President Janet Napolitano ordered the installation of computer hardware capable of monitoring all e-mails going in and out of the UC system.
“The intrusive device is capable of capturing and analyzing all network traffic to and from the Berkeley campus and has enough local storage to save over 30 days of all this data,” Ethan Ligon, one of six members of the school’s Senate-Administration Joint Committee on Campus Information Technology, wrote in an e-mail Thursday to fellow faculty members.
Information that the hardware gathers, Ligon wrote, “can be presumed to include your e-mail, all the websites you visit, all the data you receive from off campus or data you send off campus.”
Of course, as usual, Big Sis' minions claim it's all for our own good and we have nothing to worry about:
The university system is defending the new monitoring as necessary, and says that it is not routinely reviewing anyone's email. While some faculty leaders may yet be convinced about the need for the system, many are speaking out against the secretive way that it was deployed without going through standard faculty committees that in the past have had the chance to be briefed on technology security measures.
One of Sis' minions actually told the press that "Privacy perishes in the absence of security," which sounds like something Orwell's Ministry of Truth would have come up with.