October 9, 2013

Is privacy a thing of the past?

By: Jeremy Leick

With the recent resignation of associate professor Dr. Tommy Parker, the topic of pornographic material is fresh in many minds. It brings many questions to the surface – How protected are internet users on campus? What exactly can the school see when you use university WiFi? What kind of trouble can one get into based off of their internet history?

The Cardinal spoke with Marc Echternach, U of L technology specialist. Turns out, the university really has no interest in stopping your pursuit of any legal endeavor. U of L doesn’t prohibit any user from surfing any site.

“As an institution, the university elects not to block its internet users from learning information, unlike many banks, military complexes and medical facilities,” said Echternach.

With the freedom of being able to access any website, comes the possibility of conducting illegal activity. File sharing and Torrent websites are blossoming online and are generally illegal, violating numerous copyright laws. The university still controls the network, therefore allowing them the responsibility of reporting any illegal activity made on the network. Every site visit is monitored. Being able to track any activity back to a specific IP or Mac address, they will not hesitate to report individual students if needed.

When it comes to safety, U of L wireless internet is safe and protected, with campus IT workers using methods like WiFi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) and Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), along with standard ID and password access barriers for the secure network. The UL Open network is meant for campus guests to use, but it still requires an access ID, which is issued by the school. This doesn’t afford it the level of protection UL Secure has, but is still relatively safe for our visitors.

Photo Courtesy of Google Images

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