North Carolina State U. Should Consider What Harm the NSA Does

To the Editor:

It struck me as an unfortunate coincidence that, just as the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill attempts to beef up “protecting research data from malicious parties, be they foreign spies, gangsters, or hackers—or, for that matter, a federal agency” (“Researchers Struggle to Secure Data in an Insecure Age,” The Chronicle, September 13), another corner of the Research Triangle, North Carolina State University, has been awarded a $60-million contract from the National Security Agency to establish a Laboratory for Analytic Sciences—which will then assist the NSA as it undermines, circumvents, or eliminates the very same protections that UNC Chapel Hill is trying to establish.

Granted, the NSA is doing its best to destroy the data protections of all other universities, as well as the data protections of everyone outside of academia. This is not hyperbole; we know about these aspirations to universal surveillance not only from numerous recent news stories, but also from the very names and titles our security agencies use, such as “Total Information Awareness” and “Boundless Informant.”

Though I understand that no university wants to reject chances for funding, perhaps NC State should think about devoting a little of that $60-million to an academic program which examines the NSA’s harm to the public good. Maybe a Laboratory for the Analysis of the War on Whistleblowers, Internet Privacy, and Investigative Journalism?

C.E. Emmer
Professor of Philosophy
Emporia State University
Emporia, Kan.

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