Reporting Derek Valcourt
WASHINGTON (WJZ) — A Johns Hopkins professor’s blog about the NSA created a controversy after the university told him to remove it from the web.
Derek Valcourt has more on why that happened and why it’s now back up on the web.
When whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked information proving the NSA was able to sneak past encryption security tools meant to protect online information, Johns Hopkins cryptology professor Matthew Green, known for his frank analysis, decided to write about it.
“It was kind of a bombshell because we all knew that the NSA had a need to do this but we didn’t think they were going to weaken U.S. security in the process,” Green said.
But when his cryptology blog called “On the NSA” went up, Hopkins officials say one employee alerted an administrator, who requested Green take down the blog out of concern it might contain classified information. Though his blog did not contain classified information, Green took it down, igniting an online firestorm.
“The Internet went crazy, decided that this was censorship,” Green said.
But within hours, Hopkins quickly reversed its decision, allowing the blog back online. The administrator responsible formally apologized to Green, acknowledging he made a hasty mistake.
“Hopkins should be deeply embarrassed for what they did and I think they owe the public a more complete explanation,” said David Rocah, ACLU.
Rocah doesn’t buy the university’s explanation.
“What seems infinitely more likely to me, because it fits a pattern, is that the NSA or someone acting at the behest of the NSA, did ask Hopkins to do this,” Rocah said.
A Hopkins spokesman says, “At no point did anyone from the NSA or anyone in federal government contact Johns Hopkins about this.”
For his part, Green isn’t holding any grudges.
“This was, I think, really a mistake and so it’s not that Johns Hopkins is an evil place. They’ve been 100 percent behind me except for this one glitch,” Green said.
Hopkins says it’s reviewing its procedures to make sure this doesn’t happen again.