Bronfman Center Experiences Online Privacy Woes

The Bronfman Center for Jewish Life at NYU recently found itself in a bit of a digital SNAFU, when they realized that sensitive private information about its students and faculty was made publically available on the web.

Dear NYU Bronfman Center Affiliate:

We are writing because personal information about you was stored in an online mailing list maintained by NYU’s Edgar Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life. That list was recently found to be accessible on the world wide web from Bronfman’s site: http://www.nyu.edu/bronfman/.

The information about you was collected from entries that individuals typed into a “join our mailing list” form on the Bronfman website. It possibly includes your e-mail address, telephone number, street address, birthdate. It does include a number that matches the social security number that is recorded for you in official University records.

The University became aware of this matter when we heard from other members of the NYU community who used a search engine HOT BOT to check whether any information was available about themselves on the web. The search engine pointed them to the mailing list on the Bronfman site.

As soon as we learned of this matter, the mailing list was removed from the site to prevent further access. The site itself has been made unavailable. Search engines were used to check links to a sampling of other names on the list and to look for copies of the files elsewhere on the web. Most names in the sample did not produce pointers to these files. No copies of the list have been identified on other websites. We continue to monitor the situation.

Oops! More in The New York Times.

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