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Privacy concerns over new student database

April 12, 2011

Oxford University’s decision to add students to the University’s Development and Alumni Relations System database has provoked mixed reactions.

An email was sent out to students on Thursday stating that the University will be adding information on all students to the new database “in order to facilitate better communication and engagement for the entire Oxford community.”

However, students wishing to opt out of having their information migrated are given the opportunity to do so before the 4th May.This data includes name, contact details, date of birth, gender, marital status, nationality, supervisor, college advisor, programme of study and educational history. Academic results will not be transferred.

Imagine hackers are licking their lips already over this one, and thought Oxford was supposed to have some smart people, but look at this self-contradictory explanation:
It is said that details in DARS are held securely, and the data can then be used for networking purposes so that those who have left university can “connect with other, like-minded alumni”.
The email sent to students also states that the data may be used by colleges, faculties, departments, administrative units, international offices, recognised alumni societies, and sports and other entities associated with the University.

Hopefully, the students at Oxford are smarter or more savvy than the folks who came up with this plan and they will opt out immediately.

Read more on privacy concerns of students

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