Students concerned with directory profile security options

By Colleen McCoy

Some students are concerned that UK makes too much of their personal information available to the public on the college’s online directory without enough options to restrict it.

The information available on the Internet can include a student’s campus address, campus phone number, permanent home address, permanent home phone number and e-mail address.

“That contact information is supposed to be private,” said Jenni Lawlor, a secondary science education freshman. “No one’s even supposed to be able to access it.”

The switch to the new online format linkblue on UK’s Web site, which groups Outlook Exchange e-mail system, blackboard and myUK together did not change the availability of personal information, said Sidney Scott, a technical administrator for the Information Technology Customer Service Center.

The switch did make the directory search broader, with more search options, Scott said.

“We are just trying to make it easy to sign on to everything online by using one ID and password,” Scott said. “The registrar’s office has the student information. We are the facilitator, but they decide what information we publish.”

Any student, faculty or staff member can ask that their information be restricted, but they cannot pick specific pieces of information to take out. Instead, they can only request that all of their profile be deleted.

“(The registrar’s office) doesn’t just mask a piece of the profile, they mask all of it,” Scott said. “If an outside source searches for a student who has a privacy flag, they won’t find any record of a student’s existence here at UK.”

Some students said this poses a problem for many who want to keep some of their information private but not deter potential employers from finding them.

“Hopefully in the future there will be a change in the extent to which students can control these features,” Scott said.

If students do not specifically request their directory information to be blocked, UK allows the disclosure of all personal information, according to the registrar’s office.

“I’ve never had a problem with stalkers in the past so I don’t care, but I don’t like it for the girls,” said Terry Driggs, a graduate architecture student. “There are a lot of pretty girls here and they should be able to pick what they want to have online.”

Both students and faculty have approached the Violence Intervention and Prevention Center concerned with having personal information posted online, said Dorothy Edwards, director of the VIP center.

“We certainly know that the web has become a tool for stalkers,” Edwards said. “Clearly students should have full control about what personal information is posted online.”

An online profile can be restricted by going to the Office of the Registrar in the Funkhouser Building with a photo ID, and filling out a privacy form.