UC Security culture May 15, 2012Posted by Julie Sze in Guest blog, university.
today’s guest post is from Susan Kaiser in Women and Gender Studies
When I read the fascinating article Suad Joseph shared about the May Day “warning,” I was trying to figure out why I didn’t remember receiving that message from UCOP, so I started searching… The Aljazeera article cites an earlier article in The Nation:
Then I found this article in The Daily Californian indicating it wasn’t Yudof or UC, but rather iJet (the private risk management and intelligencecompany—known as “the CIA for businesses”):
So, if we book travel with Connexxus, we’re automatically linked to iJet, who gets our itinerary. Or if we get travel insurance, it’s coordinated with iJet, apparently since 2009:
UC travelers will also receive warnings about “travel conditions,” including anticipated protests and other “threats,” as well as earthquakes, etc. The goal seems to be to reduce liability for the university, as the following blurbs from the iJet website indicate:
TRAVEL RISK MANAGEMENT MATURITY MODELTM (TRM3TM)
Duty to Disclose: This concept focuses on an organization’s responsibility to monitor and disclose potential risks. For example, if there is ongoing civil unrest in a city, an organization has an obligation to disclose this to travelers so that they can make an informed decision about whether or not to take the trip. An organization could claim that it did not have knowledge of this risk, but then a court would likely ask, “Should the organization have known?” Given the number of available sources of information, including free sources such as government travel warnings and cable news as well as relatively low-cost services such as those offered by iJET and others, a claim of ignorance may not hold up in court.
iJET supports clients across a broad range of industries, including:
- Law enforcement
- Non-government organizations (NGOs)
- Strategic consulting
Universities aren’t mentioned on this list, but in an interview, one of iJet’s directors does mention them:
As a client of iJet, UC (presumably UCOP and UC Chancellors and VC, such as Meyer) receive daily “briefings” regarding hot spots around the world–including our campuses and cities presumably. This may well set the stage for, and contribute to, a culture/mentality of (in)security, fear, anxiety in the UC administration…
Oh, and iJet is in Annapolis, Maryland, and its employees include ex-spis. The company does some of the kinds of things that the CIA used to do but is now outsourcing.
Anyway, yet another example of privatization–and a rather creepy one that seems to explain something about UC’s culture of (in)security… On the surface it may be about “travel risk management,” but if there are daily briefings/alerts, etc. that include warnings about potential civil disobedience, it can’t be that good…