from the it's-their-computer-network dept.
The Register reports on an uproar following the discovery of an Internet traffic spying device on campus at the University of California Berkeley:
Academics at the University of California Berkeley have protested after it emerged that management had put a secret data slurping device into the campus that was mapping and storing all network traffic. "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, a member of the Senate-Administration Joint Committee on Campus Information Technology, wrote in an e-mail to fellow faculty members, the SF Chronicle reports.
Benjamin Hermalin, chairman of the UC Berkeley Academic Senate, also expressed serious concerns about the monitoring, and about the storage of the data off-campus. As a third party company is running the device, rather than the university's IT staff, there were also privacy issues to consider.
The device was installed after UCLA Health was hacked in June. Who ordered the installation of the device? No other than Former Governor of Arizona and United States Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, who is now the President of the University of California.
A statement from the chair of the University Committee on Academic Computing and Communications has this to say about the monitoring:
We have been informed that the monitoring of communications looked only for "malware signatures" and Internet traffic patterns. As neither message content nor browsing activity were monitored, we believe this level of monitoring can be appropriate.
We have been informed that monitoring of transmissions occurs only at campus edge, and does not capture internal campus traffic. Monitoring of traffic patterns for a pre-defined purpose can be appropriate given that results are maintained for a limited time and limited use.