Salon on the EFF v. AT&T Suit

AT&T can’t silence whistle-blower

A federal judge denied AT&T’s request on Wednesday to force the Electronic Frontier Foundation to return documents the nonprofit organization received from a retired AT&T employee.

The documents that former AT&T technician Mark Klein gave EFF earlier this year, and which the court has sealed, contain details of what EFF and Klein are alleging is a secret agreement between the telecommunications company and the National Security Agency to provide the government agency with illegal access to communications belonging to its customers. In a preface to the documents, Klein said he was motivated to blow the whistle in 2004 “when it became clear to me that AT&T, at the behest of the National Security Agency, had illegally installed secret computer gear designed to spy on Internet traffic.”

The documents, which Klein released to the New York Times and other newspapers before the court sealed them, describe how AT&T diverted the communications of customers to a secret room that the company maintained at its hubs in San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose, Calif., Los Angeles and Seattle. The rooms housed “computer gear for a government spy operation which taps into the company’s popular WorldNet service and the entire Internet,” Klein wrote. “These installations enable the government to look at every individual message on the Internet and analyze exactly what people are doing.”

Klein’s assertions help support a class-action lawsuit that EFF filed against AT&T in January on behalf of its customers, alleging that the company violated the wiretap statute, the FISA statute and several communications and privacy laws in aiding the government’s domestic spying operation without a court order.

EFF’s announcement, and their webpage on the suit

Culture Shift? Or Just More Of The Same?

Colleges Chase as Cheats Shift to Higher Tech

At the University of California at Los Angeles, a student loaded his class notes into a handheld e-mail device and tried to read them during an exam; a classmate turned him in. At the journalism school at San Jose State University, students were caught using spell check on their laptops when part of the exam was designed to test their ability to spell.

And at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, after students photographed test questions with their cellphone cameras, transmitted them to classmates outside the exam room and got the answers back in text messages, the university put in place a new proctoring system.

“If they’d spend as much time studying,” said an exasperated Ron Yasbin, dean of the College of Sciences at U.N.L.V., “they’d all be A students.”

[…] Mr. Dapremont said technology had made cheating easier, but added that plagiarism in writing papers was probably a bigger problem because students can easily lift other people’s writings off the Internet without attributing them.

Still, some students said they thought cheating these days was more a product of the mind-set, not the tools at hand.

“Some people put a premium on where they’re going to go in the future, and all they’re thinking about is graduate school and the next step,” said Lindsay Nicholas, a third-year student at U.C.L.A. She added that pressure to succeed “sometimes clouds everything and makes people do things that they shouldn’t do.”

Willful Blindness

Evidence of just how badly people have conceptualized what it means to “put something on the Internet:” On the Internet, College Athletes Acting Badly

The indiscretions of college students — whether it is binge drinking, cheating or hazing — may be old school, but universities now face the new reality that their students’ misbehavior will eventually be exposed on the Internet.

By the students themselves.

This new challenge to college administrators was underscored this week when the Web site posted photographs from a hazing by the Northwestern women’s soccer team, leading to the team’s suspension. Yesterday, followed up with photos from freshman, varsity and club team initiations at 12 other colleges, complete with links to the teams’ rosters. plucked and collated the often disturbing photos from, a site where students post and share thousands of pictures covering a variety of activities.

[…] The ease with which students can download photos to, or pictures and biographical information to another popular site,, is making college administrators nervous. They do not know when a student may post embarrassing images that can dramatically undermine their policies against hazing or other prohibited activities.

[…] Shawn Presley, a spokesman for the college, said an investigation had begun.

“We’re dealing with a generation of students who are so used to the Internet and so used to putting anything on it, whether it’s blogs or making their personal lives public, that they lose perspective,” he said.

Bruce Madej, an associate athletic director at the University of Michigan, said that colleges would have First Amendment issues if they tried to bar students from posting photographs or text on the Internet.