Parents livid over database putting student profiles, pictures online

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Melbourne, June 16 : With the State government planning to post the profile of every state school student on its intranet database, called OneSchool, parents in Australia are livid over the fact that it will make their kids vulnerable to paedophiles.

OneSchool, will provide each and every detail of the state's 480,000 public school students enrolled from Prep to Year 12, for which, the photographs, personal details, career aspirations, off-campus activities and student performance records are already being collected from all 1251 state schools.

However, the site has received a lot of flak and has also been named a likely target for computer hackers.

"The social fabric of hackers is such that this database (OneSchool) is going to be a fair target. People are going to try and get in. There is no doubt in my mind," The Courier Mail quoted professor Mark Looi, Queensland University of Technology deputy dean of Information Technology, as saying.

Parents fear that posting personal information on net may attract various threats like hackers and paedophiles, which may prove to be dangerous to the kids.

One of the readers, Sari, of Brisbane, suggested that firstly, personal information of politicians, their wives and children should be posted on the net.

"Then we'll see how safe it is before adding school children," she said.

Education Queensland claimed that they already have the details of 180,000 students from 637 schools online and they would be able to complete the database by December. About 80,000 students are expected to be added to the internal education department database each year.

According to Education Minister Rod Welford, if the parents refuse to give their consent to their child being profiled, they could also be denied access to public education. He also slammed any concerns regarding paedophiles hacking into the database.

"It's not Facebook we're creating here. The Courier-Mail is playing to the ridiculous, extreme and hypothetical, and I will not be drawn into playing your game," said Welford

"If they don't want to have any of their information recorded ... how else does one record a student's results," he said.

He also said that till date no one to his knowledge had gained unauthorised access to Education Queensland's other online databases.

The users of OneSchool will have passwords to one of 12 different levels of access to the encrypted data, depending upon their role.

Queensland Council of Parents and Citizens Association vice-president Charles Alder rejected concerns about security breaches.

"The security standards on this are as high as on any other system," he said.

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