DU students flags breach of privacy on varsity’s online admit card portalUpdated: Jul 02, 2020 23:04 IST
A section of final-year undergraduate students of Delhi University (DU) colleges Thursday raised concerns over a possible breach of privacy on the varsity’s online portal for issuing admit cards for the upcoming online exams, which are scheduled to start on July 10.
Students alleged that anyone can access a student’s admit card that carries personal details such as their mobile phone number, address, date of birth and email id.
DU had earlier announced that it would conduct open book online exams for final-year students as a one-time measure in view of the Covid-19 pandemic and the need to ensure social distancing. The university is issuing admit cards online through a link available on its website. To access the admit card, students are provided a gateway password that is unique to each college. Students can enter this password along with their roll numbers and names to access the admit card.
Vivek Prasad, a final-year LLB student at DU’s Campus Law Centre, said the gateway passwords are being circulated on WhatsApp groups, thereby posing a threat to the privacy of thousands of students. “If anyone gets hold of this gateway password, (s)he can easily access the roll number and names of students, which are available on the college websites, and then access their admit cards. There is a real risk of potential stalkers getting hold of phone numbers, email ids and home addresses of girls using the admit card portal,” he said.
Other students, too, raised similar concerns. Suruchi, a final-year BA (Hons) student at Rajdhani College, said, “It’s scary for a student to know that her details can be accessed by anyone online. Our privacy has been openly violated by the university,” she said.
Vinay Gupta, dean of examinations, said the university has given a unique password to each of the 60 colleges. “We cannot distribute the admit card in person this year, given the circumstances, and we had to switch to the online mode. We do not expect our students to search for the roll numbers of other students and pull out their personal details. Students should have a moral responsibility to not indulge in something like that, considering the prevailing situation. Some students are trying to create a fuss over nothing,” he said.
Later in the evening, Gupta said the administration has fixed the issue faced by law students. “We added an option of one time password (OTP) on the admit card portal of law students since their roll numbers were easily accessible on the website. No other college student should face any such issue since their details are not available online,” he said.
However, students of other colleges said their roll numbers are also easily available on websites. Amreen, a student of BA (Hons) English at Gargi College, said, “Some of the colleges have also uploaded a notification mentioning the gateway password on their websites. The college websites also have the names and roll numbers of students. This will lead to cases of online harassment and stalking. Who will take responsibility if something untoward happens?”
A group of DU teachers, who are also members of the Indian National Teachers’ Congress, has written to vice-chancellor Yogesh Tyagi on Thursday saying, “The university administration has uploaded the admit cards on its website which can be accessed by anyone. Examination roll number and names can be accessed from the college websites. Surprisingly, gateway passwords are common for all students. Even an outsider can access the phone numbers, email addresses and home addresses of students which are mentioned on their admit cards. Therefore, the university administration must take notice of this breach of confidentiality and privacy.”
Despite several attempts, Tyagi did not respond to calls and texts sent to him seeking his comment