Geert Lovink on Sun, 8 Sep 2013 20:58:37 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-nl] laten we dit in Nederland ook navolging geven: verhoog de druk op Google

From: Ulises Mejias <>

Petition to Faculty Assembly to Form a Special Ad-hoc Committee to Review our Relationship to Google Inc. 


In 2010, the school decided to switch to "free" email, scheduling and cloud storage solutions provided by Google. While I wasn't part of any of those discussions and decisions, I believe they made sense from an economic and technological standpoint. But even at that time, I remarked in The Oswegonian that there were problematic issues concerning privacy, academic freedom, and the corporatization of public education that were worth considering. 

I probably don't need to tell you that since then, information has come to light about the way Google (and other companies) have collaborated with the government in what amounts to massive and illegal violations of citizens' privacy. Perhaps to salvage some of its image, the Do No Evil company is filing a First Amendment case against the NSA (1). At the same time, however, it has come to light that Google accepted money from the government to spy on us (2), money that helped Google help the NSA to break the law (3), even as the NSA denied it (4).
Google has become an integral part of our operations at Oswego. Personally, I am using it not only to write this, but to email students and colleagues, collaborate with peers all around the world, deliver classes, share documents, schedule meetings, conduct research, and so on. Our reliance on services provided by any company, however, should not prevent us from reexamining our relationship to that company when it is discovered that it is in violation of basic codes of law, decency and trust.

Consequently, I am calling on SUNY Oswego's Faculty Assembly to immediately form an ad-hoc committee to review the college's relationship to Google.

The committee could consider a number of possible actions, including but not limited to:

	• Requesting information from Google about the specifics of how they report information generated through Laker Apps to the government, and which accounts have been monitored.
	• Exploring alternatives and putting forward a recommendation regarding whether the school should a) continue to use Laker Apps, b) should use another 3rd party service, or c) should go back to hosting its own services.
	• If it is deemed that the school should follow b) or c), but cannot afford to do so, putting together an opt-out plan to allow faculty or students not wishing to use Laker Apps to do so, and sending a letter to all incoming students and staff informing them that the school cannot guarantee the security of their data.

I realize many of these demands are in the nature of symbolic gestures (it is unlikely Google or the NSA will respond to any requests to release information about their operations). Nonetheless, in times of encroaching violations on our rights, silence and complacency are the foremost danger to a democracy.

Respectfully submitted, 

Dr. Ulises A. Mejias
Assistant Professor, Communication Studies Department
10 Lanigan Hall, SUNY Oswego, Oswego, NY 13126-3599
(315) 312-3525



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