Monday, February 04, 2008

Will new CSU policy be a first amendment threat?

There is a new draft CSU security policy that is now being reviewed by IT professionals at San Jose State University. This proposed policy could be seen by some as having a chilling effect on freedom of the press for student journalists, journalism faculty and bloggers. It provides for possibly extensive monitoring of communications on California State University owned computer systems and networks, for example one part of the draft says, "As determined by risk assessment, appropriate logging and monitoring controls must be implemented on CSU information systems, data and network resources." The draft policy says, "authorized CSU personnel may appropriately inspect, capture, and/or disclose community member information stored on CSU information systems or a community member’s activities on CSU information systems or network resources without the consent of the community member."

In another part of the documents the term "community member" is defined in such a way as to include both students and faculty members.

The reasons for such a possible search includes, "to ensure the ethical, legal and appropriate use of CSU information systems, data or network resources." While the term "acceptable use" is defined "appropriate use" is not.

As a journalist, a blogger and a faculty member who teaches journalism, I hope this cannot and will not be used as a way to search the Email, web browsing history and/or stored files of student journalists, bloggers or journalism professors to find a source of a story that may be considered not appropriate by the university or by the managers of our university's information systems.

This is only a draft. I hope the final version of this policy is written in such a way as to protect very explicitly the first amendment rights of members of the campus community.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

No comments: