The UK Cards Association (previously known as APACS) has
written to the University of Cambridge asking them to remove a paper, claiming that it contains information that might be of use to criminals. The thesis, from a
master's project by Omar Choudary, showed how to build a device that protects cardholders from tampered Chip & PIN terminals.
Professor Ross Anderson
responded to the request, and refused to censor Omar's research:
There are further details in the
post on Light Blue Touchpaper.
“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.”