August 2, 2002

Staff Editorial

The recent furor surrounding the news that Princeton University admissions officials gained unauthorized access into Yale's admissions database is not entirely unwarranted. Nonetheless, we at the Maroon would like to remind concerned readers that only 11 records were actually accessed, which hardly constitutes a massive breach of security. But its small size does not make it any less wrong. This action was, no two ways about it, a blatant invasion of privacy and a violation of the trust applicants expected when submitting their personal data to Princeton.

Our own admissions office, fortunately, seems very vigilant about protecting student data. We must caution, however, that as the competition for the top students (who could twenty years down the road win, say, a Nobel Prize, or drop 25 million dollars for a new athletic center) heats up, stories such as this may sadly become more common. Also, the infiltration methods may well become more sophisticated. Student privacy is an area of concern not only for the admissions office, but also for NSIT, for whom campus-wide network security is a major issue. These two groups must work closely together to avoid this threat.

We urge our admissions office to recognize this fact and be careful about what sort of data they put available on the Internet and how they ensure that no unauthorized access occurs.