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Computer scientists petition White House

Computer scientists have asked the White House to reconsider antiterrorism rules that could limit academic freedom. In a letter Thursday to the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy, the U.S. Association for Computing Machinery said "we are concerned that overly broad actions intended to ensure the safety and security of U.S. citizens may serve to limit many legitimate exchanges including the freedom to publish research and advance innovation in computer technology."

The association said federal regulations in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks that create a new category of "sensitive"--but not secret--information or that require government approval before publishing certain research data are worrisome. The group's letter pointed to an MIT study conducted after Sept. 11, 2001, that concluded: "We believe that the restrictions of the free flow of research results, as well as control of individual access, would negatively impact national security by hampering the progress of science."