Is data of students who applied at Delhi University being leaked?

New Delhi, July 29 (IANS) In what could be termed a possible case of data theft, private universities seem to have access to the data of thousands of students who had applied to Delhi University (DU) for at least one course, with this correspondent being one of those at the receiving end.

Otherwise, how would a prospectus from one Lloyd Law College in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh come my way when I had applied for an LLB course at Delhi University’s Law Faculty?

It’s not only me. My friend and fellow aspirant Vivaan Jagdeep also received a similar prospectus from the same college.

“I have never heard about Lloyd Law College and didn’t apply there. But even then I received the prospectus from this college. I was wondering how did the get my details,” Jagdeep said, mirroring my own reaction.

Another DU aspirant, Akash Godhvani, also confirmed that he received a prospectus from the college without even applying there.

Officials of the Lloyd Law College contended that admission seekers applied to various colleges and they received the data of students from various education-related portals, including siksha.com <http://siksha.com>.

“We have tied up with several education portals, including Shiksha.com. These education portals provide us with the data of potential admission seekers. But we don’t have any data of students who applied at DU,” Akhilesh Kumar Khan who handles the admission process at the Lloyd Law College, told IANS.

He did not respond to the query of how prospectuses had been sent to those who had applied to the Delhi University Law Faculty.

When contacted, Shiksha.com said it did not have any data of students who applied at the Law Faculty and only passed on information of those students who registered on its website.

“We assure you that we haven’t acquired data of students through any wrongful means and we don’t have access to data of students who have applied to DU law faculty. We do pass on students’ information to private universities but these students are the one who have registered on our portal and agreed to our privacy policy”, Shiksha.com said in an email response.

Sanjeev Singh, associate professor of Informatics at DU, who was part of the team that designed its online admission system, insisted that the data of students was completely secure and encrypted at the central server.

He, however, said that the data was also made available to the respective departments, which could convert it into the Excel format.

“No one can get into the system because it is purely running on intranet. So no outsider can access our central system. But the data is also available to all the departments. Their officers are accessing the database and they are able to convert it into Excel format,” Sanjeev Singh told IANS.

“This is very important for the departments to keep the information intact. The only possibility to get out the data is through the departments,” he added.

Admitting it would be a “serious” matter if data was unauthorisedly accessed, he also said that the university did not have any tie-up with any private institution to provide them with the students’ data.

“We don’t have any tie up with any private institution. This is a very serious issue. But we haven’t received any complaint regarding this so far. We will definitely take action if this is found to be true”, Sanjeev Singh said.

Meanwhile, the Dean of DU’s Law Faculty, Professor S.C. Raina, ruled out any possibility data theft from the departmental level.

“The data has not been leaked from our side nor have we received any complaint from someone regarding the data theft,” he said.

The police reacted similarly, saying they had not received any complaint and would take appropriate action if approached.

(Ankush Vats can be contacted at ankush.v@ians.in)

–IANS

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