Whoops! Students 'Going Google' Get to Read Each Other's Emails [Telecom]

Whoops! Students 'Going Google' Get to Read Each Other's Emails

By SARAH PEREZ of ReadWriteWeb The New York Times September 18, 2009

A recent bug in Google Apps allowed students at several colleges to read each other's email messages and some were even able to see another student's entire inbox. The issue occurred at a small handful of colleges, admitted Rajen Sheth, senior product manager for Google Apps, but he declined to say how many other institutions were affected. However, according to Donald Tom, director of IT for support services at Brown University, one of the institutions undergoing the transition, he got the impression that a total of 10 schools faced the problem.

While the glitch itself was minor and was fixed in a few days, the real concern - at least at Brown - was with how Google handled the situation. Without communicating to the internal IT department, Google shut down the affected accounts, a decision which led to a heated conversation between school officials and the Google account representative.

Details of the Glitch


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Monty Solomon
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I'd sure as h-ll hope so!!

In my academic department our 700+ undergraduate and graduate students have been sternly told that our official medium of communication to them, to transmit all important academic announcements, policy changes, requirements, deadlines, notices, and the like to them is email -- and _they_ (not us) are responsible for having a working email address, and for keeping our copy of that email address up to date.

***** Moderators Note *****

No offense, but I think that's an interesting ... theory.

When I was an MP in Vietnam, the company First Sergeant would post notices on the company bulletin board, which all personnel were required to read every day. Several of the junior enlisted men - myself included - would, on occasion, be rudely awakened for company assemblies, either because we had forgotten to read the bulletin board, or because we had worked the night shift and gotten back after dark and didn't have a flashlight handy.

About midway through my tour, we got a new First Sergeant: a grizzled old veteran, near to retirement, who had seen it all. From then on, no one missed an assembly: "top" would simply post the notices on the mirrors in the latrine.

The moral of the story is that you'd be well advised to put important news in plain sight in places where your students _have_ to go, not just where you _want_ them to be. You may _want_ students to keep you apprised of their current email address, but the objective is to get the message across.

Bill Horne Moderator

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