OpinionLetter to the EditorUSM considers data security of the utmost importance.

USM considers data security of the utmost importance.

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To The Editors:

The university considers data security for students, faculty, and staff of the utmost importance.

When potential risks are discovered, the university takes appropriate measures to eliminate such problems as well as examining areas of potential vulnerability routinely as part of an ongoing security program for enterprise information technology.

The Feb. 15 article focused on the fraudulent acquisition of a university photo ID and in no way should that issue be confused with the protection of data regarding individual records that are protected by the university’s information security measures.

In this particular case, it was revealed that a first- time student’s ID card could potentially be claimed by another individual, if that individual offered basic details of the student’s information. Even though the functionality of the card is disabled once the legitimate student claims their ID, the potential for other forms of fraudulent activity remains unless the fraudulent ID card is destroyed or perpetrator is apprehended.

In order to address this concern, Photo Services developed an internal procedure in late January requesting photo identification for new issuances of USM ID Cards. The procedure has since been reviewed and approved by the appropriate university personnel. Effective Feb. 15, the revised procedure implemented for Photo Services is as follows:

• All students, faculty, staff and affiliates are required to show a government-issued photo ID in order to receive a university-issued ID card.

• Anyone who does not own a valid form of photo ID may be verified using information related to their classification as a student (according to the offices of admissions and registrar) or employee (according to the university human resources).

• Any issues arising from the verification process or inability to properly identify an individual will be referred to the UPD for assistance in resolving the issues.

Finally, Photo Services would like to reassure the university community that current USM ID cards have not been compromised by use of the prior process. At the present time, no evidence whatsoever of ID fraud has been discovered or reported as a result of the former procedure.

If you have any questions or concerns related to your USM ID, please contact Photo Services at (601) 266-4149.

Sincerely,

Jacob M. Cochran,
Associate Director, Procurement & Contract Services

Danny Rawls,
Manager, Photo Services

David J. Sliman,
Chief Information Officer

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