Video Suggestions

by | Aug 30, 2017

Video 1

“HBO Hackers Demand Millions in Ransom, Post More Stolen Files”

Note: In addition to the video, please also see the related article also included at the above-referenced internet address:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/tv/2017/08/07/hbo-hackers-demand-millions-ransom-post-more-stolen-files/547523001/

“HBO Hackers Demand Millions in Ransom, Post More Stolen Files”

According to the article, hackers using the name ‘Mr. Smith’ posted a fresh cache of stolen HBO files online recently, and demanded that HBO pay a ransom of several million dollars to prevent further such releases.

The data dump included what appear to be scripts from five Game of Thrones episodes, including one upcoming episode, and a month’s worth of e-mail from the account of Leslie Cohen, HBO’s vice president for film programming. There were also internal documents, including a report of legal claims against the network and job offer letters to top executives.

HBO, which previously acknowledged the theft of “proprietary information,” said it is continuing to investigate and is working with police and cybersecurity experts. The network said that it still does not believe that its e-mail system as a whole has been compromised.

This is the second data dump from the purported hacker. So far the HBO leaks have been limited, falling well short of the chaos inflicted on Sony in 2014. In that attack, hackers unearthed thousands of embarrassing e-mails and released personal information, including salaries and social security numbers, of nearly 50,000 current and former Sony employees.

Those behind the HBO hack claim to have more data, including scripts, upcoming episodes of HBO shows and movies, and information damaging to HBO.

In a video directed to HBO CEO Richard Plepler, ‘Mr. Smith’ used white text on a black background to threaten further disclosures if HBO doesn’t pay up. To stop the leaks, the purported hackers demanded “our 6 month salary in bitcoin,” which they implied is at least $6 million.

Discussion Questions

1. Define “white-collar” crime.

A white-collar crime is a wrong against society that does not involve violence or physical harm. In many instances, white-collar crimes involve the wrongful appropriation or misappropriation of money.

2. Define extortion. Define blackmail. Does the subject article involve extortion, or blackmail?

Extortion is generally defined as an illegal demand made by a public officer. Some jurisdictions have expanded the definition of extortion to include illegal demands made by non-public officials.

In jurisdictions where extortion is limited to the conduct of public officials, a non-official commits blackmail by making demands that would be extortion if made by a public official. In terms of whether the subject article involves extortion or blackmail, it would depend on the jurisdiction, but regardless, it would still be prosecuted as an illegal demand.

3. In your reasoned opinion, should HBO succumb to the demands of “Mr. Smith?” Why or why not?

This is an opinion question, so student responses may vary. In your author’s opinion, HBO should not negotiate with white-collar criminals.

Video 2

“Princeton President on Admissions Process: ‘Everybody Gets a Fair Shake’”

Note: In addition to the video, please also see the related article also included at the above-referenced internet address:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/princeton-university-president-chris-eisgruber-race-admissions-college/

According to the article, Ivy League schools are bracing for a fresh review of the role race plays in college admissions.

The Trump administration is investigating a series of complaints against Harvard University that say Asian American students are at a disadvantage.

In recent interview, the president of Princeton University discussed why he believes race should be a factor in the admissions process.

Earlier this year, documents revealed Princeton admissions officers discussing the race and ethnicity of potential students in stark, sometimes uncomfortable terms.

Princeton University’s president, Chris Eisgruber, says it is a controversial process, but a race-conscious approach is necessary.

“If we wanted to, we could take students who had only perfect GPAs and only perfect board scores and fill a class with them,” Eisgruber said.

Eisgruber will soon welcome a new freshman class, packed with some of the best students in America, but every year his admissions officers are considering more than just academics.

“Let’s be clear about this. This is part of our policy. We do take race and ethnicity into account in building a diverse campus,” Eisgruber said.

The Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that race is an acceptable factor in college admissions. It is estimated that minorities accounted for more than 43 percent of incoming students at Ivy League schools in 2015 — up from 37 percent in 2010.

“We want our students to go out in the world and have an impact in a multicultural and diverse society and to produce those kinds of students, we need to have a diverse student body on this campus,” Eisgruber said.

A group called Students for Fair Admissions is accusing elite colleges of discriminating against Asian American and white students using illegal caps on enrollment and higher academic standards for admission.

In a Washington Post op-ed, the group’s president, Edward Blum, writes that racial preferences “punish better-qualified individuals and pit Americans against one another.”

“I had a 2230 in SAT, not a perfect score but still not bad. I had a perfect score on the ACT as well as a 4.67 GPA, I believe,” said Michael Wang.

In 2012, Wang applied to almost every Ivy League school but was only accepted to one.

“Had I been African American or Latino, I might have gotten into more schools. I’m not even sure myself,” Wang said.

In 2015, federal civil rights investigators reported “no evidence that the (Princeton) University used separate admissions processes, reviews, or tracks by race.” But according to documents released this spring, admissions officers did discuss applicants in racial terms: “no cultural flavor,” reads one review of an Hispanic applicant. “Very few African Americans with verbal scores like this,” reads another.

“Yes, I can guarantee that all of our students are held to an equal standard. It’s tough to get into Princeton and it’s tough to get into our other Ivy colleges regardless of what group you’re from, but everybody gets a fair shake,” Eisburger said.

Harvard also stands by its policy to consider race to enroll diverse classes of students.

In a statement, the university said, “Harvard’s admissions process considers each applicant as a whole person, and we review many factors, consistent with the legal standards established by the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Discussion Questions

1. Define affirmative action.

An affirmative action plan seeks to cure past practices of discrimination by affording certain advantages to certain protected classes of individuals. It is based on the assumption that an institution must do something in order to “right the ship” in terms of discrimination.

2. Define reverse discrimination.

Reverse discrimination is the primary argument against affirmative action. This argument contends that if an organization affords certain advantages to certain protected classes of individuals, the effect will be to discriminate against individuals in non-protected classes. For example, pursuing this line of reasoning, if a university focuses affirmative action on African-Americans, Caucasians will experience the effect of discrimination.

3. As the article indicates, it is estimated that minorities accounted for more than 43 percent of incoming students at Ivy League schools in 2015 — up from 37 percent in 2010. Comment on this statistical trend as it relates to the affirmative action admissions programs at Princeton, Harvard, and other Ivy League schools.

If the purpose of affirmative action is to ensure diversity, it would appear that Ivy League affirmative action is working, based on the percentage of minorities admitted to Ivy League schools.

4. As the article indicates, a group called Students for Fair Admissions is accusing Ivy League colleges of discriminating against Asian American and white students using illegal caps on enrollment and higher academic standards for admission. In a Washington Post opinion-editorial, the group’s president, Edward Blum, has opined that racial preferences “punish better-qualified individuals and pit Americans against one another.” Do you agree or disagree with Mr. Blum’s assessment? Why or why not?

This is an opinion question, so student responses may vary. Depending on specific university admissions program, an affirmative action plan might credit a minority student five points toward a maximum one hundred-point admissions tally. This is a relatively small amount, representing only five percent of an overall one hundred-point admissions total, but it could very well make the difference in terms of admission versus rejection. This is particularly true in a hotly competitive environment like Ivy League admissions. Whether this serves to punish “better-qualified” individuals, or to “pit Americans against one another,” is subject to interpretation.