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January 2005 graduates have SSNs leaked
Posted: 2005-02-04 00:00
1 comment(s)
Author: Phil Gengler
Section: The Stute

The security of Stevens' policy of using social security numbers has been compromised with the release of names and social security numbers of recent graduates.

A report, titled "The Report from the Office of the Registrar to the Faculty and the Board of Trustees Concerning the Members of the Class of January 2005," was apparently left in Burchard 118 after a January 26 faculty meeting.

The report contains the names, social security numbers, GPAs, and class ranks of the 31 students who graduated last month. It went largely unnoticed in a back corner of the classroom until Monday. Students with classes in that room were seen flipping through copies of the report, which remained available through that evening.

Some students began to distribute copies of the report to other students. One such student, speaking on condition of anonymity, admitted to handing copies to anyone they encountered. This student said that Stevens students needed a "wake up call" about the use of social security numbers as student identifiers.

"It's messed up, but it doesn't surprise me," said Michael Krupnick '05, whose information is listed in the report. Krupnick added, "I never really thought the school cared about my security anyway."

David Sheridan, the Assistant Vice President for Student Services, remarked, "I'm troubled by why students at a school with an honor code would see information about fellow students ... and take it and pass it around."

Sheridan felt that the situation should have been brought to the attention of the administration or faculty so that the copies of the report could have either been destroyed or put in a safe place. He likened it to finding someone's wallet: "You don't keep it, you turn it in," said Sheridan.

Regarding the reason the reports were left behind, Sheridan commented, "all any of us can do is speculate."

A possible explanation is that the copies were inadvertently forgotten at the end of the meeting. Since other reports were distributed at that meeting, but none of those were left behind, this appears to be the most likely explanation.

The release of this information to the public, while likely unintentional, is nonetheless a violation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) since it includes GPAs and social security numbers. The act allows schools to release names, addresses, majors, and degrees without the consent of the student, but prevents the release of grades and social security numbers.


» Idiotic
Posted: 2005-04-27 05:44:25
Author: Joe Schmoe

The student response was just idiotic. Do you think the professors left the papers behind on purpose? That's like saying that if you find someone's credit card, you're going to go on a shopping spree just to teach him a lesson on security, and then later anonymously give the card back to authorities.

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