Feeds

NASA boffins resist intrusive security probe

Space brainboxes in sex-snoop vetting lawsuit

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

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.

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.