Ross Anderson is a Professor of Security Engineering at the University of Cambridge. His student, Omar Choudary, completed a Master's thesis, published (like all other student theses) here at the website of the Cambridge Computer Laboratory. UK banks are unhappy about the public availability of Coundary's thesis because it describes how criminals could foil bank security measures by manufacturing new pin numbers for stolen bank cards. They are demanding that the thesis be removed from university's website on the grounds that its publication exceeds the limits of "responsible disclosure."
To his everlasting credit, Professor Anderson has refused to bow to the dictates of creeping corporatism, writing with great eloquence that the banks "seem to think we might censor a student's thesis, which is lawful and already in the public domain, simply because a powerful interest finds it inconvenient. This shows a deep misconception of what universities are and how we work. Cambridge is the University of Erasmus, of Newton and of Darwin; censoring writings that offend the powerful is offensive to our deepest values."
Chalk up one small victory for freedom of academic expression against the inflated claims of state and corporate security.
The Guardian has the full story here.