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The Electronic Frontier Foundation reported over the last couple of days that a Boston College computer science student has been targeted by BC police largely on the basis of using Linux. No, really - I’m serious.
School officials allege that this student sent an email to a school list outing another student as gay. Assuming he actually did this, it’s clear that this wasn’t particularly nice, professional, or tolerant; I’ll leave it to the lawyers to judge whether it was illegal. Regardless, the real problem here is not whether the student was professional or respectful of his peers, but that Boston College police seized several items, citing his use of Linux as probable cause supporting their actions.
According to the EFF,
In his application, the investigating officer asked that he be permitted to seize the student’s computers and other personal effects because they might yield evidence of the crimes of “Obtaining computer services by Fraud or Misrepresentation” and “Unauthorized access to a computer system.” zdnet
... observed Mr. Calixte break into the B.C. grading sytem....