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M.I.T. students 1, MBTA 0

by on20 August 2008


Judge rules in favor of students

In a victory for academic freedom, the presiding judge in the Massachusetts Bay Rapid Transit Authority case vs. the M.I.T. students has ruled that the three M.I.T. student defendants that were previously under a gag order are now free to publicly discuss their findings.

We have been reporting this story since it broke and this is the latest event in the saga. The three students had prepared a paper for a classroom project at M.I.T. which showed how the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority automated ticketing system could be circumvented.

They had planned to present the paper at a conference, but the MBTA took the students to court and won a temporary injunction on the grounds that the presentation violated U.S. laws on computer fraud.

The federal court ruled that presenting an academic paper does not violate computer fraud laws. The ACLU lauded the decision. "We need academic freedom and an ability to talk about these things, without fearing legal consequences," said Carol Rose, Executive Director of the ACLU of Massachusetts. "The marketplace of ideas does not work when we have gag orders imposed on our scientists," she added.

Now that the judge has granted the students the ability to discuss their findings the MBTA invited the students again to sit down and discuss their findings with the MBTA.

Last modified on 20 August 2008
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