|Berkman City, August 15, 1998
State officials today unveiled their new weapon in fighting student plagiarism, a new Internet search engine that will help teachers catch student cybercheaters.
Its called AcademicHonesty.Edu. Any teacher can log onto the site on the World Wide Web, enter a password, and then use the site search engine to make sure a student hasnt copied a paper off the Internet. The teacher enters a sentence or paragraph from the questioned paper. Then the search engine, also known as a crawler, searches the full text of the sites in its catalogue to ensure that there is no match.
AcademicHonesty.Edu is set up to search sites known to distribute term papers. The initial database includes all sites characterized as term paper sources by popular search engines such as AltaVista and Yahoo. Additionally, anyone can submit an on-line registration to suggest that a new site be catalogued by the search engine. Several new sites have been added already.
This revolutionary search engine was immediately certified by the Board of Education as a "safe harbor" for the states new anti-cybercheating law. Anybody who cooperates fully with the search engine is exempt from the law, which has sparked controversy among free speech advocates who claim the law will stifle the development of the Net as a research tool.
Internet term paper companies complain that cooperation means students will not use their sites. If teachers can easily get access to all papers on term paper sites, students will be afraid to use the term paper mills. Additionally, the companies complain that cooperation means turning over their entire catalogue - all their assets - to the search engine.
"Were certainly not going to do that," says Rollo Tomasse, founder of CheatHere.Com, a well known term paper mill. "No business would."
But state computer engineers claim that the site is secure. Besides, they say, teachers can only access a paper if it matches a large chunk of the student paper, in which case theyre not seeing anything they dont already have.
If you want to check the site out for yourself, or fill out an on-line registration form for additional term paper sites, go to http://www.berkman.gov/plagiarism/honesty.htm.