University website UO Find People gives access to student’s personal information

Originally Posted on Emerald Media via UWIRE

If you’ve ever wondered how a complete stranger is able to find your phone number, you’re probably not aware that it and other personal information is available to anyone via the site UO Find People.

If you are a student at the University of Oregon, anyone who knows your first and last name can find your phone number, email and other personal information. They can do this through the website, UO Find People. The directory is intended to connect anyone, whether it’s a professor’s office or a classmate’s phone number, says UO spokesman Tobin Klinger.

If a student has fully opted into the service, the search will display the phone number, email, major, address and whether the person is in an undergraduate or graduate program.

ASUO election commissioner Ram Sharma said he has been aware of the site and that there are some pros and cons to it.

“On one hand, yes, I do feel weird that someone can type in my name and get my number and that stuff. On the other hand, I can see it being useful,” said Sharma via text.

Oliver Aguire, Brian Cruz and Taylor Camarena are all UO students who had no knowledge of it and felt weird that anyone could find their phone number or email address.  

“I don’t think I’ll be using it. Honestly, I think it’s kind of weird, but it could be useful to students,” said Aguire, a freshman majoring in business.

For faculty and staff members, the site provides the job title, department, office address, email and phone number.

The page is often used by Daily Emerald reporters when trying to contact sources affiliated with the university. On average, the site has about 103,000 page views per month. This equates to about 3,000 page views per day.

Only one percent of those who have their information on the site completely opt out of the service. Klinger says that the service is fairly known by members of the UO faculty and staff.

Klinger said that university websites are expected to have some kind of site that allows people to get direct contact information for students or faculty members.

Many other universities have similar services and are often called directories. Both Oregon State University and Portland State University have similar services available.

UO is able to share the information because during the registration process, students are presented with options of how much of their directory information they want available on the site. Cruz, Aguire and Camarena all said they do not remember doing this during the registration process.

Klinger says that the site does not receive any specific promotion.

“Generally speaking, as consumers of information on the web, we have an expectation when we visit any organization website that there is going to be some component of it that leads you to the ability to contact specific people,” said Klinger.

If a person wants to remove some or all of their information, they can go to DuckWeb, choose personal information, then online directory profile and follow the instructions from there. Students can also update their information through DuckWeb.

“It’s an essential and universal part of university websites because that ability to connect with people is essential to carrying out the business of the university,” said Klinger.

When a student opts completely out of directory information, that includes all information about their status as a student at the university. Klinger said that he has gotten calls from parents of students who made the Dean’s List but had not been recognized by their hometown media because they had completely opted out of sharing directory information.

“Back in the day, we used to call them phone books,” said Klinger.

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