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Facebook, privacy and the university police

July 17th, 2007 by Graham Attwell

Students’ trial by Facebook | Media | MediaGuardian.co.uk:

I haven’t much time for rowdy, middle class, over-proveledged Oxford students. But I have even less time for the University internal police, archaically called proctors.

And now it looks as if the proctors are hacking Facebook to cause a bit of grief for the students.

But it is going to take some time before we sort out what can and should be shared through social networking sites and what rights of privacy – if any – we should be entitled too. And – I’m not paranoid, honestly – but if a few dozy Oxford proctors can hack their way through Facebook access controls, I sort of think that security services are not going to find it tricky. Are we all monitoring ourselves these days?

“Oxford University staff are logging on to Facebook and using evidence they find on student profiles to discipline students.

Photos on the social networking website of undergraduates celebrating the end of their exams have been emailed to students by the proctors, Oxford’s disciplinary body, as evidence of breaches of the University’s code of conduct.

Students now face fines of up to £100 after proctors collected evidence of students celebrating the end of exams by “trashing” their friends, covering them with champagne, confetti, flour, and even foodstuffs including raw meat and octopus.”

Students may be unable to graduate until the disciplinary hearings are resolved.

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