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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.

  1. Reblogged this on TheFlippinTruth.


  2. Those students are staking too much on the assumption they’re not somehow being mislead by Snowden and Greenwad, and the assumption that things work more ethically in the private sector.
    Protect yourself against surveillance? Sure. Just don’t burn your bridges while hard questions about the Snowden affair remain unanswered.


    • On the other hand, the evidence against the NSA is that new leaks are from its current employees. Snowden has said that much higher evidence is leaking – and it’s not from him. Secondly, Data leaking from the private sector is an issue. Students taking a stand against NSA recruitment and NSA surveillance is a great start. The fact that industry giants like Schneier are also working against surveillance, means that barriers are going up. If recruitment at the NSA can be made to become a “dirty word”, and a tarnished career, then the alignment of public opinion is taking effect.


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