Dec 152011
 December 15, 2011  Posted by  Breaches, Youth & Schools

Over on Huffington Post, Gerry Smith is singing my tune about the education sector in terms of data security exposing students to the risk of identity theft.  Here’s a snippet:

But the U.S. Department of Education has warned schools not to use students’ Social Security numbers in their databases, urging them instead to create other unique identifiers. Social Security numbers are “the single most misused piece of information by criminals perpetrating identity thefts,”according to a technical brief issued last fall by the National Center for Education Statistics, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education.

Yet the collection and use of students’ Social Security numbers in K-12 schools remains “widespread,” according to an audit last year by Patrick O’Carroll, the Social Security Administration’s inspector general. His audit found students’ Social Security numbers printed on transcripts, tests and athletic education forms.

One elementary school held a poster contest and required students to write their Social Security numbers on the back of their entries, according to the audit, which said schools were using the numbers “as a matter of convenience.” Since 2005, there have been at least 40 data breaches of confidential student information at K-12 schools, O’Carroll found.

Read more on Huffington Post.

Thinking about it, I’d change the HuffPost headline to “In Push For Data, Schools Needlessly and Recklessly Expose Students To Identity Theft.” But that’s just me….

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