Canada

‘Renew your domain name before it expires’: Alta. cabinet minister locked out of own website

EDMONTON —
Alberta’s education minister’s website has been hijacked after the minister did not renew the site’s licence.

On Friday the website shifted from displaying content curated by LaGrange and her team to showing messages about how “out of touch” the draft K-6 United Conservative Party curriculum is.

“When referring to the use of technology in Alberta’s new curriculum, Ms. Adriana LaGrange has said that students can code with ‘paper and pen’, but it is obvious that Adriana LaGrange does not understand how technology works,” the homepage read.

“Otherwise, she would not have let her domain name expire. This includes failing to renew the domain during the 41-day grace period.”

The site encouraged Albertans to view the draft curriculum for themselves and participate in a government-run feedback survey about the curriculum.

Shortly after 3 p.m. on Friday, LaGrange’s Twitter account no longer featured a link to her previous website domain.

At the bottom of the site, a link asked the “previous owner” of the domain to donate $2,500 to the Science Alberta Foundation Mindfuel charity that helps equip K-12 classrooms with science, technology, engineering, and math learning tools.

The site asked “the previous owner of this domain” to email receipt of the donation after which the new owner of the site would work “to transition the domain back” to LaGrange.

CTV News Edmonton reached out to LaGrange for comment.

Concerned Albertan Todd Willsie, a cyber security consultant and president of Calgary’s Extra Life Guild videogamer group, bought the domain and created the new messages on the site.

“I saw Adriana LaGrange’s profile on Twitter, clicked the website link and saw the domain was available to buy. So I bought it,” he said.

“At that point I just took all the comments I was hearing from friends, family, and coworkers about this curriculum and I saw one specific tweet about how there doesn’t need to be any technology in the classroom.

“I thought that was really ironic and decided to make the site and express all of what my friends and peers have been saying,” he added. “Our curriculum needs to be a bit better.”

The domain costs $70 for a one-year renewal. Willsie said LaGrange has not contacted him about the website.

As someone who works with technology everyday, Willsie said technology “needs” to be in the classroom. He selected the Mindfuel charity because it helps provide technology to educators and students alike.

Willsie said he has only been receiving positive feedback about his website hijack.

“Some people have been saying I am a hero,” Willsie laughed. “I am not, I am just an Albertan.”


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