On August 1st, 2008 a number of SETI@Home users were removed from the
project because it was discovered that a former Forum Moderator had
been copying moderator discussions and sending these discussions to
the members of a private forum. Members of this club who we could
prove had viewed and/or commented on this confidential information
were banned from this project.
It was a staff decision to terminate those user accounts. Today I am
announcing a staff decision to allow those users to return to
Since the privacy violations occurred, we have discovered no evidence
that any forum user has suffered serious injury or damage related to
this incident. Many of the people serving banishment have expressed
sincere regret, genuine willingness to return, and continuous support
of BOINC though participation in other science projects. They have
served eighteen months of banishment, and in the spirit of
SETI@home's ten year anniversary, we are allowing them to return.
Many people have asked if discussions between our moderators, and user
communications with our moderators, are now fully secure and
confidential. I believe that they are. I am aware that people
elsewhere have bragged about hacking into our system. I have not seen
credible evidence that this is so. Nevertheless, should you have
reason to contact the current moderators, please continue to exercise
reasonable precaution. If you are worried about potential abuse, do
not use your primary email address to contact the moderators. You
may use our personal messaging system or the red X, or an email to a
temporary account. Please be polite and respectful when discussing
I know that many of you will be pleased with the decision to reinstate
these users. I also know that many of you will be angry and upset.
None of our volunteer moderators were involved in this decision.
This is an administrative decision, and it was not unanimous, even
among staff members.
It is my sincere hope that the vast majority of crunchers will join me
in welcoming our friends home and continuing our search for
extraterrestrial intelligence together.