Friday, January 30, 2009

MSU Student cleared of "spam" on campus for broadcast email to faculty


A Michigan State University student has been cleared of all university charges for sending “spam” on Campus when she sent a broadcast email to 400 faculty members. MSU’s “acceptable use” policy allowed a maximum of about 30 recipients.

The student, Kara Spencer, got the support of free speech groups, including Electronic Frontier Foundation, and FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which wrote this letter on the matter Dec. 8, 2008, here.

The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) has a Wordpress blog entry explaining MSU’s dropping of the administrative charges here.

The problem reminds one of the recent controversies when Facebook suspended or terminated some members for sending too much email in very short time periods. Some people were reinstated, however.

On that blog entry you’ll find a link to another entry (“Schools to Montior Online Activities of Students”) about the West Burlington Iowa School District’s decision to monitor student online activities even from home (particularly for problems like cyberbullying, libel against teachers, pornography, and the like). I’ll watch this story closely. It looks like the battle over “online reputation” continues.

I've been in East Lansing, MI (home of MSU) once, in 1984.

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