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Case 2.1 (Hacking into Harvard)

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by

Bryan Lopez

on 26 November 2013

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Transcript of Case 2.1 (Hacking into Harvard)

Hacking into Harvard (p. 82)
"Curiosity killed the cat"

Thoughts?
Consequences
Security hole exploited.

All 119 "Hackers" were denied admission into harvard

Were they let off to easy? too hard?


Final thoughts
If you didn't know the consequences, would you have peeked?

What actions would you have taken as Harvard?

Hacking can be a serious crime.

There could have been real hackers who can do worse.
Story
(Cause)
Simple way to "hack" into college admission information.

Curious students accessed information to find out if they were accepted or rejected.

College took action by rejecting all 119 students who took a peek.
(applicants ethics were questioned)
Victims
Anyone thought Harvard was over-reacting to this "cybercrime".

Were the students just/unjust for viewing their information?
Some people didn't access the files themselves. (spouses, parents, etc...)

Some applicants didn't believe it was an ethics matter.

"Hacking" instructions weren't difficult.
(people weren't "hackers")

People were only allowed to view, not change, the admissions verdict.
Arguments/Ethical Issues
Harvard's stance overlooked possibility hacker could've been a curious spouse or parent

"Hacking into the system is unethical and contrary to the behavior we expect of leaders we aspire to develop. "

"Explointing weaknesses is what good business is all about"

"...is as wrong as snooping through your bosses desk..."

Where's the limit on what we should be able to see?
Potential Solutions
Rewarded for bringing this "hack" into the light?

Legal action? (hacking is a federal crime)

Allow all students to view admission decision online.

School probation.
Rule-Based
(Deontological)
The rightness or wrongness of an action is determined by a pre-established rule regardless of the outcome
The law: hacking (without permission) is a crime

Religion: Thou shalt not steal? (stolen information)

Libertarianism: Where each is free to live as they wish as long as they don’t infringe on others’ rights? Information of the students.


Consequence-Based
(Teleological)
Good and evil are not absolute – rather, conduct is good or bad depending on the outcome of the action. ("Robin-hood")

There was no harm done. "No harm, No foul"

It was the information of the students.

Holes in Database security were found
Ethical Theories
Full transcript