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School Databases "Honey Pot" for ID Thieves

STUDENT PRIVACY—U.S.

December 16, 2011

Writing in "Burdened Beginnings," a Huffington Post series analyzing children's identity theft, Gerry Smith highlights three data breaches where student Social Security numbers were illegally accessed for the purpose of identity theft. "Across the country," Smith writes, "schools have become conduits for children's pristine Social Security numbers, which are increasingly falling into the hands of credit-hungry identity thieves" prompting "calls for schools to stop collecting sensitive student data..." Noting that most schools collect the sensitive data to track student progress, some privacy experts say there are less risky methods of student tracking. One expert said, "This is making a much bigger honey pot for people with malevolent purposes to gain access to children's information...it's a meltdown waiting to happen."
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