Data bite back: a Harvard lesson

June 7, 2017

(This article was originally published at Big Data, Plainly Spoken (aka Numbers Rule Your World), and syndicated at StatsBlogs.)

New York Times reports that Harvard rescinded admission offers to 10 students (link).

These kids allegedly engaged in horrible behavior on "private" chatrooms online.

Not reported is how Harvard admission officers got a hold of such information. Is it possible there are jealous classmates?

I am not condoning the bad behavior - I put this link up to remind people: (a) no data are private, not even "deleted" data (b) data collected for one purpose can be used for another (c) there is a difference between what one does with the data, and what one can do if one chooses to (d) everyone has enemies under the appropriate context.


P.S. Additional reporting indicated that the private Facebook group was splintered off of an official Facebook group that Harvard admissions set up for admitted students to make friends with each other. We still don't know how they knew what happened inside a private group.


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