Digital copiers pose security threat

Copier hard drives should be erased to minimize security risks.
Copier hard drives should be erased to minimize security risks.

Although stolen laptops and computer-savvy hackers are frequently the focus of school security discussions, information retained when sensitive documents are photocopied poses another very real, although often overlooked, security threat for schools and colleges—and for the employees and students whose personal information could be at risk.

The hard drives in digital copiers record all images that are copied using the machine. While copier security risks have been known for a number of years, CBS News shined its spotlight on the danger with an April 19 news report. eSchool News first reported on the issue in 2007 (see “Latest data security risk for schools: Copiers“).

The CBS investigative team purchased three previously-owned copiers and accessed sensitive information on all three hard drives, including one that contained scanned records from a public high school.…Read More

Universities mull role of tenure in UAH shootings

UAH students reportedly filed complaints about Bishop.
UAH students reportedly filed complaints about Bishop.

Questions about how universities handle tenure decisions have arisen after Amy Bishop, a professor at the University of Alabama Huntsville campus, was accused of killing three colleagues from the university’s biology department earlier this month.

Bishop reportedly was denied tenure—a distinction that ensures job security in academia—and complained about the university’s decision for months before the shootings, colleagues said in interviews with the Associated Press (AP).

Higher-ed administrators say the tedious six-year tenure process can be fraught with anxiety, and if candidates expect to earn tenure and are denied by campus officials, reactions can be unpredictable.…Read More

Notification delay surfaces in Alabama shootings

The UAH shootings could bring more attention to text message alert systems, experts say.
The UAH shootings could bring more attention to text message alert systems, experts say.

Nearly an hour passed before University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH) officials dispatched emergency notification to students and faculty after fatal shootings allegedly committed by a professor, raising new questions about campus-based alert systems.

University President David Williams sent an eMail to faculty and students Feb. 15—three days after the shootings that killed three people and injured three others—and said campus police responded to the gunfire within minutes, but the university community was not alerted via text message or eMail.

“… Some of you are understandably troubled about the speed with which a text message alert was sent following the shootings,” Williams said in his open letter to UAH students and faculty. “As any institution would do after an incident like this, our university will conduct a complete examination of the emergency response. How to more effectively use the university’s text message system in the midst of a fast-moving, life-threatening situation will certainly be part of that review.”…Read More