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Building An Uncensorable Course Guide At Yale 47

Former Googler and Foursquare employee Sean Haufler is now a student at Yale studying CS and Economics, but he hasn't put away his real-world software skills for academia. When two other Yale students named Harry Yu and Peter Xu were threatened with the school's punishment committee for designing a site that extends and improves the presentation of data from the school-controlled course selection guide (the Yale Bluebook [available only at Yale]), Haufler decided to create a similar site which he hopes will force the school's hand to either allow or deny this kind of data-mashing presentation. He acknowledges that there are legitimate questions about copyright, but Haufler's site treads lightly in a way that Yu and Xus did not: "Banned Bluebook never stores data on any servers. It never talks to any non-Yale servers. Moreover, since my software is smarter at caching data locally than the official Yale course website, I expect that students using this extension will consume less bandwidth over time than students without it. Don’t believe me? You can read the source code. No data ever leaves Yale’s control. Trademarks, copyright infringement, and data security are non-issues. It's 100% kosher." And if the school disagrees? "If Yale denies this right, I'll see you at the punishment committee." Of note: the Yale Bluebook site itself grew out of an independent student project, but was later acquired by the school. Update: 01/20 00:26 GMT by T : Correction: Unlike Yu and Xu, Haufler's approach is not a full-fledged separate site, but rather a Chrome extension that presents the data from Yale's own site differently, rather than at any point re-hosting it. Mea culpa.
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Building An Uncensorable Course Guide At Yale

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  • Correction (Score:5, Informative)

    by MachDelta (704883) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @12:43PM (#46006119)

    It's not a replacement website, it's actually just a Chrome extension [] that appears to helpfully mangle the official website.

  • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @01:09PM (#46006311)

    You see nothing of this sort in the summary because the summary is wrong. If you'd read TFA, you would've found out it is *not* a site, as stated by the summary, but rather a browser extension. Since it doesn't reside on any central server but rather in the browser of each individual student, it is indeed effectively uncensorable. However, it should be breakable: if Yale changes their website so that the extension no longer matches it and thus cannot scrape it, it should break.

Successful and fortunate crime is called virtue. - Seneca