Google pulls student Social Security numbers from index

A North Carolina public school district went to court to get Google to remove Social Security numbers and test scores for more than 600 students after the information was exposed on the Web, according to article in the Winston-Salem Journal online.

Catawba County Schools said it contacted Google after a student found the data on the search engine. The data was up until late last Friday, when the page was removed, the article says.

Danny Sullivan, editor of Search Engine Watch, got more information from the school district's chief technology officer, Judith Ray, who said that Google somehow bypassed the login information. "We acted so aggressively with Google because, until the media got involved, we could not get beyond an operator at Google," she said.

The school district claims that the temporary injunction accuses Google of conversion and trespass, but Google denies any wrongdoing, the Winston-Salem Journal article said.

"Our crawler does not have the ability to enter passwords. The fact that the information was in our index indicates that the documents were not password protected at the time when we crawled the site," Google said in a statement on Monday. "We worked with the school district to remove the information from our index within hours of receiving their email request. We have not been served with the injunction but have already worked with the district to remove the content, making the injunction unnecessary and moot."

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About the author

Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service, and the Associated Press. E-mail Elinor.

 

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