NCSU scrambles after data release

From Staff ReportsAugust 10, 2011 

— Data housed on a N.C. State University computer server that contained private information for about 1,800 schoolchildren from Richmond and Wilson counties was inadvertently made available online, university officials said Tuesday.

The data, gathered from 2003 to 2006 as part of a research study on classroom practices, included names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth. The three affected elementary schools are the now-closed Ashley Chapel in Richmond County and Gardners and Wells in Wilson County.

The state Department of Public Instruction notified NCSU about the data exposure July 25 after receiving a call from a parent of one of the students. NCSU officials immediately removed the data from the server and contacted Google to request that it remove any saved copies, said Marc Hoit, vice chancellor for information technology, in a news release.

"Our next step was to launch a forensic review of all our servers to make sure there were no other instances of inadvertent data release," Hoit said.

There is no evidence that any of the data was used improperly, he said, but the university wanted to ensure that parents were aware.

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