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July 24, 2000 - Image 4

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2000-07-24

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, July 17, 2000
Edited and managed by GEOFF GAGNON PETER CUNNIFFE
students at the Ir 4t ' Editor in Chief JOSH WICKERHAM
University of Michigan Editorial Page Editors
I la Unless otherwise noted. unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the
420 Mayna rd Stre etmajority of the Daily's editorial board. All other articles, letters and
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily
G eneral Motors' recent filing of an ami-mit dents will be without looking at a broad
cus brief supporting the University in range of factors, including race. Whether we
'the two lawsuits challenging the University's E flfl *I r like it or not, race does influence how people
consideration of race in its admissions poli- in this country live, how society treats them
cy is further affirmation of the importance of GM Af6IC I ' ~a to and what opportunities they have.
the University's efforts to maintain a diverse GM defends U~ affirmiLve actin po"cie Ending the diversity in higher educatiq
educational environment. General Motors will only perpetuate this situation, harm uni-
hires many University graduates and recog- concludes that college students who experi- diverse environments. versities' educational environments and
nizes that having a work force educated in a ence the most racial and ethnic diversity in As the U.S. becomes a more diverse damage U.S. companies' ability to effective-
diverse program is essential to its ability to classrooms and during interactions on cam- nation, many minority groups continue to be ly compete.
effectively compete in the increasingly glob- pus become better learners and more effec- under-represented in higher education The University's commitment to main-
al economy. tive citizens." because of generally more difficult econom- taining diversity is not only in the best inter-
This important and gratifying show of The importance of a diverse education in ic situations and inferior secondary educa- ests of its ability to properly educate its stu-
support from one of the world's largest cor- our increasingly diverse nation and the ever tional opportunities. Growing up with fewer dents, but - as GM's support demonstrates
porations - and also one of the area's largest more interconnected world has never been opportunities does not mean one is less intel- - in the best interest of our local and nation-
employers - demonstrates the growing more clear. The assault on the University's ligent or less able to succeed in college. The al economy.
recognition of the importance of diversity in effort to maintain diversity, being spearhead- University's admissions policies recognize As General Motors states in its le
education by the business community. ed by a Washington D.C.-based law firm this fact and take many factors - including brief, "Only a well-educated, highly-dive
Leaders in business are coming to under- dedicated to dismantling diversity efforts in race - into account besides grades and stan- workforce, comprised of people who have
stand that students learn more effectively in higher education and every other area possi- dardized test scores when judging applicants. learned to work productively and creatively
a diverse 'environment where they are ble, is an attack on the University's ability to Considering the broad differences in the with individuals from a multitude of races
exposed to as many different viewpoints and provide the best education possible. As GM quality of schools, curricula, economic and ethnic, religious and cultural histories
ways of looking at the world as possible. As points out in its statements of support, stu- backgrounds and experiences of its appli- can maintain America's global competitive-
General Motors' vice-chairman Harry J. dents will be ill-equipped to function in the cants, the University cannot make accurate ness in the increasingly diverse and intercon-
Pearce put it, "a growing body of research global marketplace without training in assessments of who the most successful stu- nected world economy."

E-nail's big brother
FBI illicitly invading citizens' privacy

Bolefgineered food
Consumers left in the dark by government

The FBI has recently come under fire
from internet privacy groups and the
ACLU for a controversial e-mail snooping
system that monitors all e-mail passing
through networks connected to the device.
The system, dubbed "Carnivore" by the FBI
- because it gets at the "meat" of informa-
tion - is dangerous because it is capable of
scanning sender and receiver information
along with the subject lines of all passing
mail to determine if those messages contain
information worth saving for FBI review.
Unlike phone taps, Carnivore's almost
unlimited access to private messages carries
a high potential for abuse by overzealous
FBI agents and allows the possibility of tar-
geting users not suspected of any crime.
Court orders are currently required to tap
phone lines or gather information from ISP's
on possible illegal activity carried out over
electronic mediums like e-mail, but
Carnivore is much more pervasive. The sys-
tem is an untouchable box installed on pri-
vate networks to collect all information pass-
ing through them. This is like installing a
device that listens to every phone conversa-
tion to determine whether or not the phone
calls should be monitored by law enforce-
ment. But information on the inner workings
of Carnivore remains sketchy. This alarms-
many privacy advocates, like Representative
Bob Barr (R-GA), who had one word for the
system: "Frightening."
One solution involves allowing the code
of Carnivore to be perused by independent
groups who would examine its workings to
make sure the information being collected is
limited to those under investigation for ille-
gal activity. This seems a viable solution, as
the integrity of the Carnivore system would
not be violated, yet could still be monitored.
The FBI announced Friday that Carnivore
could be reviewed by independent acade-

mics, but this does not go far enough.
A more palatable alternative to Carnivore
would leave ISP's responsible for turning
over information on targeted users for FBI
review, as is the current practice with phone
companies in possession of incriminating
evidence. This allows some degree of pro-
tection and would be a reasonable alternative
to widespread electronic surveillance.
More sweeping reform could come from
Congress, as legislators examine the ACLU's
recommendation to draft legislation that
would bring Carnivore and similar schemes
under control. Current privacy legislation
needs to evolve to include provisions ensur-
ing that access to electronic communications
by law enforcement is limited to suspect
users and specific court-approved targets
only. The potentially abusive nature of
Carnivore is not something we should learn
to live with in the digital age. Law-abiding
citizens cannot have their privacy infringed
by law enforcement agencies interested in
collecting data on a few criminals.
Congress must keep up with the times
and fully examine the feasibility of wide-
ranging changes to electronic privacy.
Outdated laws like the 14-year-old
Electronic Communications Privacy Act,
which allows for real-time interception of
messages with a court order does not include
provisions for new technologies and allows
for loopholes like Carnivore.
Whether Carnivore's code is opened to
public investigation or more stringent atten-
tion is paid to governmental bodies engaged
in electronic snooping, the laws are far
behind technological means. It is time the
American people receive comprehensive
legislative protection from risky, unaccount-
able law enforcement techniques that violatej
Fourth Amendment protection from unrea-
sonable searches.

H istory has perhaps repeated itself too
quickly for the human eye to see.
Tobacco companies were recently convicted
of knowingly harming consumers for
decades - before the 1970's - without
warning them of the health risks posed by
their products. Yet, though the smoke is still
curling skyward from the stamped-out butts
of the tobacco magnates, another industry-
sponsored crop is being successfully market-
ed with little research or consumer education
- this time with the approval of the U.S.
government.
Under the authority of the Clinton
Administration and the Food and Drug
Administration, producers of genetically
modified (GM) foods have essentially been
granted permission to use American con-
sumers as guinea pigs.
The FDA is notorious for delaying the
approval of drugs. These delays may cost
some lives by leaving potentially life-saving
drugs off the market, but this is a price many
Americans are willing to pay to ensure their
safety.
Regarding GM foods, however, the FDA
has only recently begun any kind of formal
control. New legislation will soon require
companies to notify the FDA four months in
advance of putting GM foods on the market.
However, the only required research may
come from producers' own research teams.
Compared to an average three to five years
for the approval of a drug, four months
seems an unreasonable - even unsafe -
amount of time to ensure the viability of a
product in a frighteningly under-researched
area of food production.
More appropriate than this paltry
research might be more effective controls on
GM foods in general. When the citizens of
Europe rejected GM foods, their collective
voice was heard. The European market cur-

rently has the strictest regulations on GM
foods, with under ten percent of its food con-
taining bioengineered components, and
those only under the most exacting rules.
Large groups of Americans have also
tried to voice their disagreement with the
uncontrolled use of bioengineering in fo4
production, but the government has ignored
them, following a policy exactly opposed to
the desires of no small minority.
With a wave of its industry-influenced
hand, the government pushes aside the
doubts and complaints of the American peo-
ple, claiming fears of harm from GM crops
are unjustified. While a lack of research on
the effects of GM foods on humans
delay definitive claims of harm, the scien
ic community can offer much negative evi-
dence regarding the effect of this agricultur-
al tinkering on the environment.
Bioengineering of crops leads to a loss of
biodiversity, which travels down food
chains, threatening species in a domino
effect. Pollen from modified crops can be
carriedto wild or natural crops, creating new
species that can threaten ecosystems.
Perhaps most threatening, these highly culti-
vated crops are also highly vulnerable to Sw
attacks from insects or disease. The useow it
one "supercrop" may feed us now, but with
the current rate of population growth, sus-
tainability is key.
Producers of GM foods are currently
pushing to keep product labeling voluntary.
The fear of a decline in sales is motivating
companies to withhold information on their
use of GM foods from consumers. Rather
than continue this deceitful behavior, pr
ducers of GM foods must be forced to gain
the trust of consumers through research con-
ducted by non-biased groups who do not
have a vested economic interest in promot-
ing GM products.

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