Readers' reactions: email snooping

November 17, 2000

Last week in The THES .... Simon Davies argued that email snooping would turn universities into wired Dickensian workhouses

I am surprised that Simon Davies regards the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act as a "green light for wholesale surveillance".

The effect of the act is to restrict an activity that employers have previously had complete freedom to use as they wished - monitoring traffic on their own networks.

Far from wishing to create "an architecture of surveillance", those university managers who have sought our advice on the implications of the act have been concerned that it might criminalise the routine activities of network support staff.

Andrew Cormack
Head of JANET-CERT, the computer emergency response team for JANET, the United Kingdom Education and Research Networking Agency

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