[email protected], Spec, and Privacy Concerns
Written by Bwog Staff
When Sam “Ruby Prince” Aarons told us he was selling [email protected] to Spectator, we were happy for him–it’s a big sell and it makes sense; Sam’s graduating this year and [email protected] will need upkeep after he’s gone.
But next thing we know we’re getting all these freaked tips and noticing concerned conversation by the sanest people in the room. There were worries about personal information and documents being gathered by Spec through [email protected] After taking a moment to indulge in conspiracy theories, we reached out to Sam to see how valid these privacy concerns are.
Per Sam, the owner of [email protected] only knows “the name of the document, where it was sent, metadata (double-sided, collated), the pseudonym, IP address and that’s it.”
Moreover, though, Aarons allayed fears of Spec changing the code to have access to more information–and it’s partly on you to watch out for that:
“[email protected] is an open-source project meaning that everyone is free to view the source code and understand how the site works. By reading this source code, it’s clear to see that without exception documents are deleted right after being sent to the printers. Changing this behavior requires changing this publicly available code, thus making it clear to everyone what the new behavior is. Columbia has very strict privacy guidelines; so much so that I received a disciplinary hearing based on the thought that I could be doing such a thing. Having the code be open allows every party (user, owner, and school) to trust the application and allow it to continue working.”