Law Schools, Privacy, Screw-Ups, Technology

Flyover Law School Exposes Students to Potential Identity Theft Issues

In yesterday’s Quote of the Day, we noted that Dean Susan Poser of the University of Nebraska College of Law took the time to write a letter to the editor of the New York Times to offer a critique of the U.S. News & World Report law school rankings system. Poser claimed that the rankings were biased toward top law schools, allowing schools like her own to “remain little known and undervalued” in the eyes of the general public.

Poser encouraged everyone to examine the state of legal education in flyover land, claiming that a second look might result in surprising findings. Well, we decided to take her advice. We learned that, in addition to boasting an out-of-this-world space law program, the law school is also on the cutting edge of cybersecurity.

Actually, that’s not true at all, because Nebraska Law (along with other parts of the university) just experienced a major security breach of its student information system. If you’re a current or former student, you might want to check and see if your identity has been stolen….

While everyone at Nebraska was busy shucking corn and studying cow law, someone else was busy doing exactly what Poser instructed — checking out the state of legal education in the middle of the country (but not quite in the way that she had hoped). We received this tip from a soon-to-be 1L over the weekend:

[I am] gearing up for law school in Chicago next year. I received this message from Nebraska yesterday. You’ve got to be sh**ting me.

Unfortunately, Nebraska was not sh**ting him, because apparently even country bumpkins know how to hack computer systems. But why was this tipster so pissed off? He’s not even going to Nebraska. From the school’s memo on the security breach (emphasis in original; you can see the full memo on the next page):

On Wednesday night, May 23, a security breach of the University of Nebraska’s student information system, was detected. The system contains Social Security numbers, date of birth and address for current and past students, and also for students who applied to the University of Nebraska but did not enroll.

If you applied for federal financial aid through the FAFSA process and identified one of the University of Nebraska campuses (UNL, UNO, UNK, UNMC, NCTA) to receive the results in the last three years, your personal information such as Social Security number and date of birth is stored in the University of Nebraska’s student information system. You may have been required to include parent data on the FAFSA as a part of the application process. If so, their information is included as well in our system. A small number of individuals also had bank account information associated with their account; those individuals have already been notified.

This just goes to show that law school has the potential to ruin your credit and leave you (or your parents) riddled with debt — even if you don’t enroll.

(hidden for your protection)

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