Network Security

Hackers, tech pros rally around teen who brought homemade clock to school

Tech companies and a group of Dallas hackers are rallying around a teenager arrested earlier in the week in Texas for bringing a homemade clock to school.

After authorities at an Irving, Texas high school called in police once they discovered the clock, which Ahmed Mohamed had shown to his engineering teacher earlier in the morning and the teen was arrested, then released, hackers in the area stepped up to encourage him to continue inventing. Mohamed has been invited to speak at the next meetup of the Dallas Hackers Association with a hacker going by the handle Tinker telling Motherboard that as a student he once was taken to the principal's office himself for “hackering.” Tinker noted how easy it would be for Mohamed's recent experience to turn him off of his tech pursuits, but expressed the belief that the teen “will find like-minded people who back him.”

Mohamed is getting quite a bit of backing—another hacker who goes by the handle WhiskeyNeon has given the teen's parents a membership to Dallas-area hackerspace, and other hackers hope to translate that year's membership to a lifetime offer for the young inventor, according to the Motherboard report. 

The report quoted WhiskeyNeon as saying that Mohamed will also receive “Arduino, solar panels, a lot of hardware as encouragement because we support what he's doing.”

And the hacker added, “As a hacker community this is our backyard” so the community  is “going to stand up and show people what this is all about.”

Tech companies, too, have thrown their support behind the teen with Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg writing, “Ahmed, if you ever want to come by Facebook, I'd love to meet you. Keep building.”

And Twitter lit up with encouragement for the teen. The social media site tweeted out its support with an offer of an internship, noting “we [love] building things at @twitter too. Would you consider interning with us? We'd love it — DM us!”

Google invited the teen to its science fair. “Hey Ahmed- we're saving a seat for you at this weekend's Google Science Fair...want to come? Bring your clock!” the company tweeted.

Mohamed even snagged the interest of Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein at MIT, the college that the teen dreams of attending. “We would love to have Ahmed visit us at MIT!,” Prescod-Weinstein wrote on Twitter. 

The teen can add those words of encouragement and promises of future to support to those of  President Obama, who invited Mohamed to the White House. “Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House?” the president tweeted. “We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great.”

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