Trinity News published an article on its website yesterday that has attracted considerable criticism from some sections of the student population. I would like to address what I would consider to be the two main themes of this criticism.
First of all, the article and its headline have been accused of misleading readers. It has been claimed that the webpage referred to in the article did not constitute a major breach of the college network. We dispute this. The webpage did contravene security restrictions imposed by the School of Computer Science and Statistics (SCSS) and in doing so exposed critical infrastructure for the operation of one of its module. The breach was significant enough to be blocked three hours after being reported to SCSS administration and reported to College’s IT security officer. These are irrefutable facts.
The second criticism relates to our publishing of information that could easily identify the student behind the webpage. Though we had every right to, we agreed not to name the student in question due to the sensitive nature of the story. The student chose not to comment when contacted by Trinity News. The article did not seek to imply that the aims of the student implicated in this investigation were malicious. This is the reason the article clarified that there were no attempts made to conceal the webpage.
As Webcat is only available on the SCSS network, we have corrected an earlier version of this article that incorrectly stated that it could be connected to on TCD wifi. We will correct and retract any other inaccurate statements included in this article, as is the case with every article we publish. However, having discussed this matter internally, we are satisfied that the rest of the published content is not misleading.
This article is based on evidence gathered from the key stakeholders involved in the story. It was not published with the intent to sensationalise or slander. Due to the nature of student media, writers and readers are often on familiar terms with those being reported on. These connections are not reason enough to overlook sensitive issues or mistakes so as not to offend anyone. To sacrifice journalism for public relations would be an insult to our readers.
We stand by our reporting.