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By: Jessica Sorentino (University of Delaware)

There is a reason your e-mail account needs a password, your bank account can only be accessed by entering a personal PIN and when you swipe a credit card little asterisks appear as stand-ins for the card number.

That reason is personal privacy protection. It isn’t too difficult for some to figure out ways to intrude people’s private information, regardless of how secure you think you’re keeping your information.

You may believe your privacy is being valued and your information is not being plastered in publications and on the Internet. But this belief does not always stand true.

When you send in your first tuition check after receiving the acceptance to college, you are also agreeing to allow access for thousands of people (depending on how populated a school you are attending) to access your personal credentials.

Okay granted, you need a school ID to access the information online, but once you submit your ID, you have the names, e-mail addresses, home and school addresses, home and local phone numbers, year classification and what subject is being studied of every student attending the same university.

Some schools even publish a directory listing all of the same information in hard copy and distribute it to all students. They may also keep them in common campus centers — public places for anyone to pick up and read.

Now I don’t know about you, but when I found this out my freshman year it made me quite uneasy. I’m the kind of person to generally give people benefit of the doubt and assume no one has searched the University of Delaware people finder for my information. But it does make you wonder: has anyone? Do people look at this information — which again is only available to the school community — with people outside of the community? How would we know?

It is important to remember that if someone gives you any feelings of discomfort to not indulge them with the satisfaction of knowing more than your first name that way it’ll be harder for them to narrow down a student search — should they want to.

Just know these directories do exist, and while students studying say, journalism, may find it useful to gain sources, it is not something that should be taken advantage of or forgotten about.

Tags : online securityPersonal Information

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