Monday, March 28, 2011

Who can read your email?

Jonathan Swainger of UNBC draws our attention to a story currently consuming American historico-political circles. (Briefly, the Republican party operatives want to use freedom of information laws to search history professor Cronon's university email records, fishing for evidence of political activity on his part.)
My own interest in Academic Freedom has drawn my interest in events south of the line where historian William Cronon [incoming president of the American Historical Association] has attracted the ire of the state Republican Party. I expect that readers will be very interested in these developments.
He provides a link to Cronon's new blog. which sets out the situation in great detail.   Thanks, Jon.  Also of interest (this story has gone viral across the border):  Talking Points Memo founder Josh Marshall, a history student before he went all journo, writes a personal tribute to Cronon the historian.  Jack Shafer of Slate suggests, however, if you don't like how Freedom of Information laws work, the response should be to change the law, not criticize those who use them against you.

Cronon declares he never uses his state university-provided internet access and email for political purposes. Which raises a nice ethical point:  if your university provides you with email, do you only use it for university business?

Update:  Gregory Kealey of UNB reports: 2 University of Ottawa faculty members and one at Windsor have already been targeted in this way."
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