Highly sensitive employee and student files have been found open to student access, leading to a potentially huge breach in data protection and personal details. A storage room under construction in UCD Student Centre has been discovered to have a large collection of unattended UCD Employee and Student files. Included in these files are payroll reports, employee bank account details, PPS numbers and details of TD donations to student political societies.
The UCD Student Centre third-floor storage room contains miscellaneous furniture items alongside large theatre set pieces used by UCD Musical Society. The student society has access to this room for storage of large set pieces and enjoy “access to the storage space whenever we need it. When it is locked we can have it opened by a member of staff.”
The College Tribune discovered a large collection of files spanning from at least the years 2000 to 2014. The limited number of files seen by the Tribune belonged to UCD, the UCD Student Centre, UCD Campus Sport and Leisure Ltd., UCD Department of Sport and UCD Societies. Included in the sensitive documentation were: payroll reports, employee bank account details, PPS numbers, employee Revenue and Social Insurance Numbers, UCD societies grant applications, UCD societies income and expenditure accounts, documents regarding student disciplinary hearings and details of TD donations to student political societies; to name only a small fraction on what was left unattended to student access.
A UCD Student Centre spokesperson has said: “The third floor of the Student Centre building is confined to support staff operations, with access given and welcomed to all patrons of the University while a staff member is present.” UCD Musical Society has confirmed that “there wouldn’t always be a member of staff with us,” leading to questions on the security of the vast amounts of personal data.
The source who contacted the Tribune regarding the files, who wishes to remain anonymous, said in a statement: “I am astonished at the total and blatant disregard shown of student’s and worker’s personal information. This raises wider questions about the management practices of the student centre in general.”
A spokesperson for UCD Musical Society said: “UCD Musical Society along with several other societies enjoy an extremely good relationship with the student centre. We are so grateful to have been able to store many set pieces and assets on the third floor of the building. We do have access to the storage space whenever we need it. When it is locked we can have it opened by a member of staff.”
A spokesperson for UCD DramSoc confirmed that they do not have access to the storage space, nor have any items stored there.
The Tribune was contacted with a news tip suggesting a large number of sensitive documents were left unattended. In following with standard procedure, the Tribune investigated into this matter by visiting the location. On arrival, construction work was occurring. After entering the room without any interference from the construction workers, we investigated the files. After discovering the gravity of the situation, and noting the types of documents available, we vacated the room. It is understood that UCD Musical Society continues to have access to this space as well as a number of UCD Student Centre Staff members.
Conor Capplis – Editor