The History and Mathematics of Codes and Code Breaking

Blog Assignment #2

For your second blog assignment, read the 2011 essay "Mining Student Data Could Save Lives" by Michael Morris of California State University at Channel Islands and write a post between 200 and 400 words that responds to the following prompt.

What is the central argument Morris makes in his essay? Do you agree with it? Why or why not?

This is a chance to practice your summarizing skills and to construct a (brief) response to an author's thesis. Feel free to draw on personal experiences in your response, if that's relevant.

Please give your post a descriptive title, and use the "Student Posts" category for your post. Also, give your post at least three tags, where each tag is a word or very short phrase (no more than three words) that describe the post's content. You're encouraged to use tags already in the system if they apply to your post.

Your post is due by 9:00 a.m. on Monday, September 4th. If you have any technical problems using WordPress, don't hesitate to ask.


Bookmark Assignment #1


A False Sense of Security

1 Comment

  1. Stone Edwards

    In this essay, the author Micheal Morris argues that universities should have the ability to access students personal information, via data mining, in order to prevent violent actions from occurring such as school shootings. Personally I do not agree with Morris' argument. I think that if a university had the ability to look at personal files and data then it would be abused at some point. For example: if there is a professor who is not on good terms with one of their students and the professor uses data mining to find out the student has been talking badly about the professor through text or email, then that professor could give the student a bad grade even if their work is of A+ quality. Data mining could also be exploited through outside hackers. If there is a system that can gain access to a whole campus of students, then there are multiple people who can hack that system and gain the same access. This becomes very problematic considering what the hacker does with the information such as blackmailing or stalking. Another reason I do not agree with Morris is if the person evaluating the data mining algorithms misinterprets the meaning behind someones personal messages. Everyone gets extremely emotional and some people vent through the internet. Just because they are venting through the internet does not mean that they are an automatic threat to the university. I think that a person looking at this using data mining would not understand what level the venting is at and would look immediately towards the worse case scenario rather than looking at it as something basic. Though Morris does mention that no system can "100-percent effective, 100 percent of the time," I still think it is wrong for anyone to have that type of access to someones personal information regardless of the efficiency of a system.

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