Legal implications of a university cataloging all student email?
May 21, 2006 11:53 AM Subscribe
What are the legal implications of a university monitoring, storing, and cataloging all incoming and outgoing email into a searchable database? What if I have first hand knowledge of a university doing this?
posted by anonymous to Computers & Internet (15 answers total)
Through my job I've become aware of a local private university that not only monitors, but stores and catalogs all incoming and outgoing email in a searchable database accessible to the university's faculty. This is purportedly done under the guise of catching plagerism. The university has done this for at least the past academic year, and has done so without explicitly disclosing this monitoring to their students. Their network use policy states that not only are they free to monitor all traffic at will, but that they *own* all content stored or transmitted through their system.
Since finding this out, I took the time to speak to a few system admins at other institutions and found that this is not, as far as they knew a common practice for a variety of reasons, both technical and legal. Common themes among the admins I spoke with included wiretapping concerns and a potential duty to report nefarious activity that's disclosed in the archvied email.
What I'd like to know are the potential legal implications of this university's storing and cataloging of all email traffic. Additionally, do I just let this go, or is it worth pursuing, and if so how?