The NSA’s greatest hiring strength is students, but resistance is growing – Guardian
For years the NSA has used the incentive of paid tuition to lure talented teens into employment with the agency. But in light of the Snowden leaks, students are organizing against what they see as just another invasion of their privacy rights
‘Students Against Surveillance’
In 2013, after he left the NYU program, Foster founded the Student Net Alliance (SNA), an international student-run organization that deals with many facets of digital rights on university campuses. So far SNA has helped 17 schools including NYU write letters to their university administration, demanding reforms to student internet rights and privacy and, in some cases, NSA recruitment. The letters are part of a project called Students Against Surveillance, and are written by a mix of students and professors, including one high school student.
SNA members have also been working on the first Student Internet Policy Handbook since June 2014. The first section of the handbook, which deals with NSA campus recruitment, is now online. The rest will be published over the summer. The handbook judges each school on about a dozen criteria, including the university’s cyberbullying policy, transparency, and whether the university invites NSA recruitment to its campus. It is the fruit of dozens of interviews conducted by the eight members of SNA.
The main impetus for the rating system, according to Foster, is raising student awareness. “It’s easy to mistake these programs as harmless recruitment tools,” says Foster, “but these schools are receiving millions in taxpayer dollars each year to incentivize students.”
Foster hopes that such efforts will raise awareness about how the NSA is fed in the first place – through recruitment at academic institutions. He hopes to spark national interest, maybe even help ensure the death of the Patriot Act.