duMBA

Mighty Stupid. If this is what business schools are about, then I'm happy I'm not applying to any. From the article:

Harvard's Clark said the school's mission was to educate principled leaders with high integrity, sound judgment and "a strong moral compass -- an intuitive sense of what is right and wrong."

"Those who have hacked into this Web site have failed to pass that test," Clark said.

119 students are being accused of "hacking" which is laughable, since this is what they did:

...if you took your login hash, appended it to a URL at the ApplyYourself, you could see the decision letter on your file, if it had already been posted. [via /.]

First of all, I'd like to remove the overhyped and completely misused word "hacking" from all this. This is NOT hacking. This is not even a malicious break in, or a case of electronic eavesdropping (which would be the correct terms for this case). Let's use a low tech analogy to what happened, so that we can talk more about the ethics than the hack:

Harvard Business School has a room where it keeps everyone's admission files on a table, spread out for everyone to access. Each student walks up to his file and picks it up, to read and know what is happening to his application. Now he's heard from his friend that the acceptance letter, which is supposed to be a confidential letter is already in his file, all you have to do is look at the second page with the red tab! The stupid clerk didn't have the sense to even put this page in a different file folder, locked away in the dean's office. Even if he was a little incompetent; but still slightly competent enough to hold a job at the most prestigeous institute in the history of the universe, he'd put it in a sealed envelope that says "DO NOT OPEN TILL FIRST OF APRIL", in bold uppercase letters. But did this happen? No. The page in question did not have any warnings, intended access control, or anything that would make an ethics-oriented person think about this twice. Hell, it was addressed to the guy who accessed it! What's unethical about accessing letters addressed to you?

Can someone please smell the stink in the air and fire the clerk instead of making stupid decisions? ApplyYourself sucks. It sucks more than the Cygnus X1. I've myself been a victim of their sloppy quality of service, unfriendly interface, and general stupidity(more on this later). I hope the univs realize this and act before more students get affected.

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About the author:

Arnab Nandi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at The Ohio State University. You can read more about him here.


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