UC Berkeley Faculty Upset over New Network Monitoring Software

The university installed the new software without telling faculty members.

Staff members with the University of California Berkeley are upset after extensive monitoring software was discovered on the school’s computer network.

UC Berkeley faculty is asking for more transparency around a monitoring system some believe has the capability to track all emails, web activity and data transfers that occur on the university’s network, according to dailycal.org.

A group of university faculty members were informed of the monitoring system by members of the campus information technology staff in December when the staff felt uncomfortable keeping the system confidential.

After attempting to get more information about the system from school officials, faculty members began publicly criticizing the university.

“Right now we don’t know [what information the system collects], we can’t ask and we can’t find out,” Associate Professor of Art Greg Niemeyer said. “The whole operation is covert, and we can only assume from the hardware we see that it’s extremely expansive.”

RELATED: For Hackers, Universities are Prime Targets

Professors also publicized the letter they received from UC President Janet Napolitano after inquiring about the system. Napolitano emphasized that the system protects against cybersecurity attacks that “pose a serious risk to individual privacy, to the valuable intellectual property we create, and to our financial position.”

A university policy that was changed in August prohibits the use of the data collected for anything unrelated to security.

Shortly before the monitoring system was put in place, UCLA Health experienced a serious cyberattack that resulted in the breach of 4.5 million patient’s personal information.

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