Feeds

NASA boffins resist intrusive security probe

Space brainboxes in sex-snoop vetting lawsuit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

A group of cheesed-off American space boffins are resisting new security procedures, implemented in the wake of 9/11, which require them to submit to background checks.

Recent reports indicate that a group of 28 employees at NASA's famous Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)* have mounted a lawsuit intended to prevent NASA from forcing them to submit to the provisions of Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12, an executive order emanating from President Bush and dating from 2004.

The Presidential Directive requires that federal employees - in order to be issued with new, mandated security badges - be fingerprinted, fill in questionnaires and authorise security probes into their backgrounds. The JPL group says that this allows offensively intrusive snooping into such things as their sexual history and medical records.

The alternative to compliance is dismissal. The LA Times quotes NASA chief Michael Griffin, stating that anyone who didn't fall into line would have to hit the road.

"We will miss those folks," he said.

"That is their choice."

Dan Stormer, a lawyer representing the JPL protesters, was naturally scathing about the measures.

"Our clients are exemplary employees who have spent their work lives bettering this country. This attack on their right to privacy will not be tolerated," he said, adding that the measures were "despicable".

NASA spokesmen said that all the other NASA employees didn't seem to mind, and nor did thousands of other workers on the federal payroll, also subject to the badging scheme.

The grumpy JPL boffins disagreed, suggesting that lots of people would refuse to bend over for a federal microscoping.

"I am truly appalled," said Dennis Byrnes, chief flight dynamics engineer at JPL, one of the protesters.

"Many will flee government service."

Susan Foster, a technical author at JPL, said she would definitely resign rather than sign. Byrnes and the other members of the group didn't commit themselves, however.®

*More famous in recent times for its work on planetary space probes such as Voyager and Cassini than for jet engines.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.