Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Thanks, Johns Hopkins!

Sometimes, briefly, I forget about the university branch of the corporate-government-university complex.

Then a read a story like this one about a dean at Johns Hopkins telling cryptography professor Matthew Green to take down a blog post about NSA spying. It has a happy ending: dean realizes he was misinformed (he couldn't be expected to investigate before issuing the order), he apologizes and proclaims his commitment to academic freedom, and the site is up.

Who called Green's post to the attention of the dean? It appears it wasn't the NSA, but someone from the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins. The APL,
which employs about 5,000 people, does many projects with the NSA.

According to the lab’s website, “APL staff working with NSA are engaged in strategic planning, development of enterprise and program architectures, conducting quantitative analysis to support engineering decisions, development of engineering processes, and formulation of the governance structures for the work in the new Technology Directorate (TD).”

The website also notes that the lab “completed a strategic study that analyzed NSA’s global information technology infrastructure to determine the top locations for the large-scale data centers.”
Good to know. Is this 1950?

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