Maybe this is where Rand Paul, with his notable anti-NSA spying stance, swoops in and wins the Harvard vote.

Harvard secretly photographed students to study attendance

Harvard University has revealed that it secretly photographed some 2,000 students in 10 lecture halls last spring as part of a study of classroom attendance, an admission that prompted criticism from faculty and students who said the research was an invasion of privacy.

The clandestine experiment, disclosed publicly for the first time at a faculty meeting Tuesday night, came to light about a year-and-a-half after revelations that administrators had secretly searched thousands of Harvard e-mail accounts. That led the university to implement new privacy policies on electronic communication this spring, but another round of controversy followed the latest disclosure.

“You should do studies only with the consent of the people being studied,” Harvard computer science professor Harry Lewis said in an interview Wednesday.

Lewis said he learned about the study from two nontenured colleagues and asked administrators about it during the packed faculty meeting.

He said professors benefit from feedback on teaching that such research would produce. But, as he told the audience at the faculty meeting, according to his blog: “Just because technology can be used to answer a question doesn’t mean that it should be. And if you watch people electronically and don’t tell them ahead of time, you should tell them afterwards.”