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ANON/ANNOUNCE: Sysadmin Policies at Universities (and high schools)

>This message came to me immidatly after I requested the sysadmin here
>at UB to upgrade to PGP to version 2.1 Do I need to explain this?
>   Notes:       given the questionable legal status of the PGP software
>		it has been removed from UCS supported areas.  people
>		interested in authentication/privacy should use ripem.

     It sounds like someone needs to take a stand against the UCS policies
at Buffalo or else they are going to go farther and farther...  Trust me,
that is happening on this campus too.  I used to go to high school here
on the other end of campus.  It was a new HS when I started (first graduating
class) so they had a lot to learn.  I walked in, found the manager of the
LAN and other sundry computer duties, and told him, "I would like to help
you out in any way I can.  I would suggest enlisting my help, because you
don't want me on the other side."  I thought it was kinda cute with the
right balance of cockiness...  Well, he didn't enlist my help...  He gave
up coordination of the LAN after a lot of student troubles and the next
guy was a real tyrant.

     If it weren't for the work of five "lab supervisors" (i.e. student
assistants to the sysadmin) the system would have fallen last year.  I
was one of the five and we worked very hard to keep the students' interests
in mind while steering policy to an open and simple system.  Now that we
are gone, they made the policy more restrictive step by step.  A student
presumably got access to the sysadmin's account and changed all of the
Novell stuff around so that the students were sysadmin but the sysadmin
couldn't get into the network at all.  (oops)  Now they have gone to a
closed lab policy:  each person has to run his/her student ID through
a scanner, gets assigned a computer, and is watched like prey.  Any files
that have "questionable" content or are named "unsuitably" are deleted
and the student loses his/her account for a few days.

     They are suspending kids for a week just because they bypass the
program that lets the sysadmin view their screen.  Granted, this LAN
is owned and operated by the school, but they would not set a policy
even when we proposed one to them that was in their favor (at the time).
So, the policy changes from day to day and the students, being the
oppressed, get the short end of the stick.  I have taken myself out of
the situation as much as I can...  Strangely, I now work for the
university's LAN support group, but they know better than to assign me
to jobs dealing with the HS.  The students have no voice there--I realize
that minors do not have freedom of speech, but grievances should be heard
and policy should be decided in an unbiased way.  I disagree with some of
what the students are doing, but I abhor the policy (or lack thereof) of
dealing with "crimes" by the students.

     If you want to let Buffalo take a turn for the worse as far as
policy goes, then don't say anything about their decisions.  I would
NONviolently oppose whatever you think is not right.  The questions
I have for you are:  how do you get an account on their system?  If
every student is given one (like our VMS system at BSU) then they will
likely not take it away if you fight for your rights.  If you have to
request the account and they disable them as soon as you no longer
"need" them, you should be careful about which channels you use...  I
would have friends complain for you.  :)  Do it anonymously through
a remailer...

     No matter what, if you are passive, you'll lose.

Chael Hall

Chael Hall
[email protected], [email protected]
(317) 285-3648 after 5 pm EST