Ahmed Al-Khabaz, a 20-year-old computer science student at Dawson and a member of the school’s software development club was recently expelled from the school after discovering a flaw in their security system that compromised the security of the students’ personal information. He notified the school immediately, but two days later decided to run a software program that tests for vulnerabilities to see if the problem had been fixed. It hadn’t. When the school caught wind of it, he was expelled.
Admittedly, Al-Khabaz should have been reprimanded for running a security program without the college’s permission (even if his intentions were good), but expulsion? Not only is it too harsh, it makes the college look like a bully, penalizing a brilliant young mind for being inquisitive and questioning the status quo; all those wonderful things that an education is supposed to encourage. In the wake of Aaron Swartz's suicide, people are much more sensitive to such stories - and should be.
In this the age of the internet, very little is off limits and information is much more accessible to those looking for it. The web and social media have contributed to the increased democratization of information sharing, and what was once questionable has almost become the norm for the younger generation. Now, more than ever, transparency is the key. Dawson failed miserably in the way it originally handled this case, and then it failed again by not reneging on its decision and by not realizing that the information age could – and ultimately did - work against them. By the time the media got a hold of this story, Al-Khabaz had received job offers and scholarships to other schools, and Dawson had needlessly tarnished its reputation. The college needs a reality check – or at the very least, someone more attuned to today’s reality to advise them on such matters in the future.
Trolling the president
The online comments I read during and after U.S. President Barack Obama’s inauguration left me speechless. Such blatant disrespect and racist overtones about a man who was voted in by the majority of Americans as their president baffles me! I hate to break it to these people, but the Confederacy lost the Civil War a long time ago. There was something immensely beautiful about watching a black president swear in for a second term in front of a White House that was predominantly built by slaves. It’s a reminder that the world moves forward – always forward – despite those who would continue to stubbornly attempt to jerk it back.
There is something immensely beautiful about watching a black president swear in for a 2nd term in front of a White House that was predominantly built by slaves. -
I am no fan of Wente's. I find the Globe & Mail columnist harsh, judgmental, and with a tendency to dabble in absolutes. Her recent column, however, 'The awful truth about being single,' misses the mark by a mile. In it, she discusses the single life as a horrid affliction, a misfortune to be cursed with, and not simply what it is; a state that is no better or worse than coupledom, as long as it’s been entered into for the right reasons. Funnily enough, in her attempt to make all singles feel like horrible failures (throwing both single men and women under the bus), she somehow manages to unintentionally reveal more about her state of mind than the cursed souls she’s talking about. In the end, about the only thing Wente and I can agree with in this column, is, that if I were Wente, I'd probably be bored with my own company, too. Reality check, pronto!
Like many Quebecers, I tuned in to watch La Voix on TVA last week, only to spend half my time cringing uncomfortably as 80-year-old Jean-Pierre, acting like that dirty old uncle we’ve all come across at some point in our lives, flirted with every pretty young thing that came on stage. As harmless as it may appear to some, it’s simply not acceptable. It’s not even Ferland I’m upset with most. It’s the producers. Ginette Reno pulled the same stunt on Star Académie last season, and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler (well into his 60’s) was openly leering at every female who auditioned for American Idol last year.
The producers of these types of shows need a serious reality check. It’s time they realized that allowing judges (people who are deciding these aspiring musicians’ particular fate at the moment) to make lurid and suggestive comments about their appearance is nothing more than sanctioned sexual harassment. There’s nothing cute about it.