Tech columnist John Dvorak weighed in yesterday on the ongoing MBA admissions brouhaha in his unofficial blog. His original post came down on the side of the “hackers”; I followed up in his comments to point to my post, and today he wrote the following:
OK after all my rants and various philosophical concepts the actual instructions for the student URL re-direction in the Harvard scandal is revealed here on the PowerYogi site. Reader/blogger Tim Jarrett sent me the link. Jarrett also takes a hard line approach to what I’d now call a script kiddy violation or simple curiosity. But, if indeed, there was a complex and dubious procedure then there may be some justification for complaint. In this case the indication is that the students should have known this was traceable. Making such an error shows bad judgement.
I still think the colleges should have sut up and not showboated and exposed the fact that they were using flawed software. And I’m still not convinced this can be considered “hacking” in any real sense. But I now retract my earlier comments and criticisms made today.
As Adam said in my comment threads, this whole thing has the makings of an excellent business school ethics case. There are so many dimensions, so much going on, that it’s impossible to take a hard line on it without looking at the facts.
I’m actually grateful to the folks who found the flaw and the lousy programmers at ApplyYourself, because I’ve had more honest and productive discussions about business and personal ethics and the Internet in the last four days than the last four years.