We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

Second, you seem to think that 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. Thus even though the decision to put the thesis online was Omar’s, we have no choice but to back him. That would hold even if we did not agree with the material! Accordingly I have authorised the thesis to be issued as a Computer Laboratory Technical Report. This will make it easier for people to find and to cite, and will ensure that its presence on our web site is permanent…

– Ross Anderson, of the Cambridge University Computer Laboratory, defending academic freedom. This makes me proud.

10 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Paul Marks

    These are indeed fine words – and I hope that the Cambridge University people live by them.

  • bob

    security through obscurity has failed time and time and time again. if only the idiots would take a moment to give a crap…oh…wait…that’s right, who needs a chip/pin when your wealth simply requires a ‘signature’.

  • manuel II paleologos

    well, hooray for Omar and Ross but it strikes me that Greedy Bankers are a bit of an easy target here for some rather sniffy sanctimoniousness.

    When he’s defending an Israeli university for publishing research into something genuinely unfashionable like the weather or gay hobbit porn I’ll be a bit more convinced. Meanwhile I’ll try and make sure my wallet doesn’t get stolen.

  • Good for them, but this is a subject upon which the University could feel in the moral right. Let’s see them show spine on a subject like race, gender, religion, or weather!

  • Kay Tie

    Ross was sticking it to these utter bastards 15 years ago, before it was fashionable. And these bastards have been sticking it to their customers, standing by while innocent people face jail as a result of their lies. So no, Ross isn’t engaging in the following of any fashion.


  • Given the legal hazards involved, Mr. Anderson stand is anything but easy. Hurrah for Cambridge!

  • John B

    Very interesting to see the supporting documents in the post and comments.
    Alarming the tenacity that people who one would imagine to be honest (a bank/building society and their accountants) will hold to a compromise on evidence when their interests are at stake!

    Hey. Trust all Samizdatans had a great Christmas and look forward to a successful New Year.
    Thanks for your blog. Indeed.

  • guy herbert

    This is example why independent universities with tenured professors are a good idea.

    Ross and his students are continually demonstrating defects in payment systems that banks claim are infallible. The claim is not simple arrogance, as Ross points out. It has a commercial point for a cartel that continually attempts to transfer all risk of anything going wrong with its systems to the users – consumers and merchants.

    (The same cartel is now busying itself with making our oldest and most logically coherent payment system, the cheque, much more difficult to use, having set a target of killing it off by 2018, in favour of electronic payments that relieve banks of any liability and almost all costs. They are shaping up to resahape regulation to the cartel’s satisfaction by proving “people don’t want cheques”.)

  • Paul Marks

    “independent universities with tenured professors”.

    Well in the United States the poster boy for tenure was E.A. Ross – the Stanford University prof who (along with economic collectivism) also tried to whip up the extermination of the Chinese in California.

    Jane Stanford had him kicked out of her university – but Richard Ely (the founder of the American Economic Association – and mentor of both Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson) rallied academia to the cause of evil (as he always did – although, when dealing with the childen of Plato, this is not exactly a difficult task).

    Ross got a good job (eventually with Ely himself) – and tenure rules were brought in unversities.

    “But tenure can protect pro freedom people also” – indeed, which is why pro freedom people do not tend to be given jobs that have tenure.

    Still I am NOT against tenure – as long as the university gets no tax money (direct or indirect).

    Otherwise it can hadly be considered “independent”.

    By the way – as the 1960s (and since) have shown, student “activism” (normally quietly suggested by certain academics) can be used to get rid of pro freedom academics (those handful that exist) – even if they (by some mistaken) have tenure.

    A simple matter of organizing a riot in every lecture, making telephone threats to the academic (or to his family) and so on.

    Standard operating procedure on the left.

    Of course any effort to call in the police will be met with “this university is independent – campus security will deal with the matter”.

    “Does not happen in Britain”.

    Does sometimes – and what does happen is the following.

    The move from the “token conservative” (the practice in university politics and economics departments when I was young) to “diversity”.

    “Diversity” meaning that all the academics are on the left (they just have various different skin colours, genders and so on).

    “Diversity” has meant (as it has in the MSM) the final wiping out of dissent in most institutions.

  • Andrew Duffin

    Ross Anderson is one of the good guys, and all credit to him for making this stand.

    One does wonder, though, about all the Cambridge graduates who allowed the Royal Society to become a warmist mouthpiece for so long – a process only recently, and only very tentatively, put into reverse.

    Where were their fine ringing principles when all that was going on?