At the Ref Desk (5/12/20): We have entered the Age of Lookups. [more...]

Oops, Research Database ERIC Giving Out Soc. Sec. Numbers

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sat, 9/15/12 (3:28pm)

Opps-a-daisy: One of the top databases for education, ERIC, says it's been publishing Social Security numbers along with research data since the days of microfiche. Only now, thanks to the Web, they finally noticed. Huh?

Dear ERIC Community,

In early August we discovered that sensitive personally identifiable information appeared in some full text documents contained in the ERIC collection. Specifically, social security numbers and other highly sensitive information were found in multiple documents and in a way that could not easily be isolated. For that reason, we had to temporarily disable access to many full text documents.

Although these documents had been publicly available in microfiche for many years, the advent of Internet search engines has made it easier to find this information. Our number one concern is to ensure that any full-text documents we provide do not violate any individual's privacy. We believe that if any of us were to have our privacy compromised by an ERIC document, we would want the same consideration.

You can read the rest here...