Is UT Putting Its Students’ Privacy At Risk?
Bleed “any color” and have an iPhone? Then you can access the UT Austin ‘Directory’ in the University of Texas iPhone app, a feature that lets users search for any student at UT and view their name, major, phone number, address, and email.
Since no form of student verification is needed to download and use the free app*, the risk of someone misusing that private information is very high. A student can restrict their info through UT to make their information private, but finding that resource wasn’t easy and, in my opinion, isn’t promoted well enough by UT’s administration.
Are other schools doing this too? Unfortunately, yes. Texas A&M’s “TAMUMobile” iPhone app offers the same feature, and I’m sure plenty of other schools do too.
How can they do this?
Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), universities can disclose “directory information” without the student’s permission. This long list includes:
- Student’s name
- Local, permanent, and email addresses
- UT eid public username
- Telephone listing
- Date and place of birth
- Major fields of study
- Dates of attendance
- Enrollment status
- Degrees, awards, and honors received, including selection criteria
- Most recently attended previous educational institution
- Expected graduation date
- Participation in officially-recognized activities and sports
- Weight and height, if a member of an athletic team
- Student parking permit information
- Job title and dates of employment when employed by the university in a position that requires student status
Don’t want this information public? Restrict your info here.
*EID verification is needed to see Finals, Class Schedule, Bevo Bucks, and Blackboard.