Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The FBI And Graduate Students Working Late

Via No Capital:

THE FBI IS visiting the nation's top technical universities in a bid to stop students taking their holidays outside the country.

MIT, Boston College, and the University of Massachusetts, have all had a visit from the spooks to warn them about the dangers of foreign spies and terrorists stealing sensitive academic research.

The FBI wants the universities to impose rules that will stop US university students from working late at the campus, travelling abroad, showing an interest in their colleagues' work, or have friends outside the United States, engaging in independent research, or making extra money without the prior consent of the authorities.

If this is true it shows that the FBI doesn't have anyone working for them who used to be a graduate student. Working late at the campus is what 99.9% of graduate students do. That's how you work. And not to show an interest in the colleagues' work! How are you going to network so that you will one day get a job?

This sounds paranoid to me. Maybe it isn't true.

Added: The original source seems to be this one. Hard to know if the Inquirer take above is correct or not. Thanks for the conversation on Eschaton for this link.

Added even later: Trademark dave on Eschaton linked to the actual FBI instructions(pdf). Remember that this is all about nonclassified research. The FBI document does warn about keeping unusual working hours, for example. But late night hours are actually not unusual, as I stated.