from the say-what-now? dept
“UNC-CHAPEL HILL IS BLOCKING FILE-SHARING THROUGHOUT STUDENT HOUSING.”Students then are told to remove such offending software or they won't be able to access the internet.
Of course, since there do remain legitimate reasons for using file sharing software, students can apply for a "Hall Pass," that will let them use the software after they "learn what does and does not violate copyright law." One hopes that the lesson plan required is reasonable, though such programs rarely are all that accurate.
I understand why UNC is doing this, but I still find it worrisome. These are technologies that rapidly evolve. What may seem "evil" today may not be in the near future. Blocking your students from using them, except after they jump through a bunch of hoops -- each with a giant warning on them -- chills the willingness of students to actually look at certain new and important innovations that can be built on top of the older things. Requiring people to go ask permission to go use one of the fundamental features of the internet is likely to be quite frustrating for students who have perfectly legitimate reasons to use such networks.
Separately, I will note with a bit of pride that the same article quotes someone from my alma mater saying that Cornell would never implement such a system:
Ms. Mitrano said. Engineering and science-heavy institutions would have a hard time, for instance, because those fields often require a lot of file-sharing. Cornell, she says, wouldn’t do it because it would violate a student code that emphasizes “freedom with responsibility.”Nice to see them going against this kind of snooping/cutoff setup.