Saturday, January 15, 2011

Cambridge tells bankers to stuff themselves

This is the kind of stuff that makes me smile. There existed for almost a year, a security flaw in the chip and PIN technology in the cards used by banks and merchants. This flaw was not secret. But when a thesis on the flaw was published on the University of Cambridge's web site (with all the other theses), the banker's trade association in the UK tried to bully them into removing the thesis.

The folks at Cambridge were not impressed. Here's a blog post about their response. Here's a clip from their response:

"Second, you seem to think that we might censor a student's thesis, which is lawful and already in the public domain, simply because a powerful interest finds it inconvenient. This shows a deep misconception of what universities are and how we work.

Cambridge is the University of Erasmus, of Newton, and of Darwin; censoring writings that offend the powerful is offensive to our deepest values. Thus even though the decision to put the thesis online was Omar's, we have no choice but to back him.

That would hold even if we did not agree with the material! Accordingly I have authorized the thesis to be issued as a Computer Laboratory Technical Report. This will make it easier for people to find and to cite, and will ensure that its presence on our web site is permanent...."

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