What on earth have we done?, Kim wondered. The note prompting Kim's wonderment came from Malekh Salimi, a sophomore:
I deeply resent your invasion of my privacy. How I set up my computer is none of your business. As I understand it, the University respects individual rights. When you directed your staff to examine my computer without my permission, you violated this policy. This is arrogant and tyrannical. I want an apology, and your assurance that Information Systems staff will immediately stop invading my privacy and that of other students.
A quick phone call brought some facts. As the University had turned on subnets in student dormitories, students had connected their computers to the network and left them on. Some students hadn't read their networking manuals. They had unwittingly made their software and personal files accessible to anyone on the global Internet.
As Director of Academic Computing, Kim had worried about this. In response, albeit without a formal policy discussion, network staff had begun scanning the network looking for accessible machines. When staff found accessible machines, they sent the student owners mail saying so, mentioning license restrictions and other problems with accessible machines, and suggesting greater caution. Most students receiving these notices had been very appreciative, and had learned how to secure their machines appropriately.
But some, Kim now knew, had reacted otherwise.
Copyright 1994, MIT
Greg Jackson, email@example.com