The OC Blog Back Issues Our Mission Contact Us Masthead
Sudsy Wants You to Join the Oregon Commentator

University of Hawai’i releases tens of thousands of Social Security numbers accidentally, nobody seems to care.

What if the UO accidentally posted the names, grades, addresses and — for God’s sake — Social Security numbers of 40,000 alumni online for all to see? That would be a disaster, no? Well, I’ve returned to Hawai’i, where I grew up, for the break, to find the local university system did just that.

Evidently, a faculty member at the University of Hawai’i’s West O’ahu campus left the information online for about a year, having amassed it in the process of performing some sort of research. The faculty member said he believed the server he was accessing was secure, but, unsurprisingly, he no longer works for UH.

There are precious few specifics — for instance, aside from its being a “database,” I’ve not seen anything that says to what kind of site the data found its way — but at least one person is claiming the mistake cost him about $740 after three people apparently stole his identity. A national nonprofit charges that “UH has a pattern of breaches and unfulfilled promises,” according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. That article goes on to say that more than half of the Hawai’i government records whose security has been breached in the last five years, about a quarter of a million of them, have come from UH.

So there’s obviously an incredibly serious institutional problem going on here, but what surprises me is the complete lack of apoplexy over this. One state senator says she will “schedule a hearing to discuss improvements.” UH says it’s trying to figure out how not to do this in the future. Nobody seems too angry, although it also happened a couple of months ago, so maybe I just missed that.

Can you imagine how brutally the UO would be savaged if it did this, or had this kind of track record? I grew up here and I’ve lived in Oregon for the last four-and-a-half years, and I have, as yet, no insights into this.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.