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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

LTS disconnect

Published: September 8, 2006
Section: Opinions

In August, Library and Technology Services (LTS) unveiled a new web-based email system for University usage, including a new system that, eventually, will allow students to access many functions with a single login. While we appreciate the latest efforts to make Brandeis web applications easier to use, we fear that the latest upgrade does not have the same focus on security that weve seen in the past from LTS.
The new system may be polished and full of new features, but it contains a curious flaw that is sure to confuse many users of machines in public clusters on campus. In the old mail application (webmail) used last year, once a user logged out, they remained logged out. With the new application, if someone else logs in without completely closing the original browser window, he/she is logged into that first persons inbox rather than his/her own. If you followed that, you can see why this is a problem.
If youre thinking this is a minor flaw that is in itself of little importance to the greater campus, wed agree. However, consider that LTS allowed this new webmail to be deployed without addressing this problem. Either they considered it a non-issue and not worthy of fixing, or they did not fully test the new system before deployment. Neither of these scenarios gives the student body a great deal of faith in LTS commitment to providing secure and private communications between students.
Given the recent Facebook uproar, it is clear that students are concerned about their privacy online. LTS should assure the student body that it is providing the most up-to-date security measures and that it is willing to spend time properly testing all new technology.
LTS should revert to the old webmail system until the errors in the new system have been fully solved and we hope that they will test software and consider security more extensively in the future.