Our View: How safe is our information?

The staff editorial is the majority opinion of the editorial board of The Murray State News.

Security in this country has changed dramatically in the past decade. The idea of a post-9/11 world has entered the mindset of every American. We are no longer afforded the security and privacy we had before those terrorist attacks.
In today’s world the idea of taking part in the largest public forum ever known to mankind leaves many asking whether or not the digital age should come with certain rights. The Internet, as many know, can be the most wonderful and most awful invention at the same time.
This being the case, the government is compelled to take certain precautions when it comes to information within their own networks.
Obviously the higher the authority within the government the more security it needs. Anyone familiar with the Wikileaks scandal will understand just what is at stake for those in power.
But just how much security does a public university need? And when we ask that question should we not also ask about how much security a public university can provide?
The Murray State News recently found out the University is archiving all email passing through the Racermail system. That means every person who has a Murray State email and uses it can expect a record to be kept. Be cautioned.
There can be many positives to this. Administrators and lawmakers may see it as a way to keep accountability and security within the University system.
If a potential case of sexual harassment or bribery was going on certainly having those emails on record would prove useful in any sort of legal action.
The University is a public institution and therefore is required by the Commonwealth of Kentucky to keep these records along with every other state university. But the idea of security may come as a concern to many students across campus and the Commonwealth. Just how well would the University’s firewalls work against modern hackers?
If the University is targeted by Anonymous or Lulzsec would they be able to protect students, faculty and staff?

This brings us to the most important point. Who is overlooking this system? “Who watches the Watchmen?” is the famous saying. According to the University these emails can only be explored through specific court order.
Under what circumstances would that court order come into being?
The reality of the situation is  the University is a government entity. We can expect it to use our information for whatever motives may suit its  need.
The current state of freedom of speech and protection of private information has reached a critical point where the citizens of the United States are no longer capable of defining the boundaries of their private and public life.
This is in part due to our own addictions to technology and the sacrifices we seem willing to make to take part in this brave new world of information and communication.
But we cannot only blame ourselves. Our entire system of running society has become so reliant on this lifestyle that we can only feel compelled to lay down with it; or for it.
The question each of us have to  ask is how far down the rabbit hole do we want to go?