Law school insists no student could have been identified from data

The Faculty of Law took down a map early this morning that showed current students’ approximate addresses as a means of showing prospective students potential neighbourhoods they could live in. Last week, the faculty’s Admissions & Recruitment office posted the map — which contained several screenshots of google maps with dropped pins, generated using a sample of law student postal codes.

Krista Nerland, a law student, said that the exact location of her house was pinpointed in the map. “The data we gave you about our addresses wasn’t for this purpose, and making the data anonymous only goes so far in such a small community,” she said in a tumblr comment.

Aurora Cee, a law student, called the map a “stalker’s dream” in another comment, noting that the Faculty of Law is quite small.

Benjamin Alarie, associate professor & associate dean of the first year program, emphasized that any direct pinpointing of a student’s address is a coincidence. He said that the map was generated using a sample of postal codes, rather than addresses. He emphasized that the map was non-interactive, fully anonymized, and represented less than half of the student body.

“We ensured that under no circumstances could an individual student be identified from the summary data in the images,” reads a statement on the admissions tumblr page. “Our sole intention was to help incoming students, and we would like to emphasize that no student personal information was ever made public. We are very sorry for causing any anxiety, and for not anticipating the valid concerns that have been raised.”

Despite having taken the above mentioned precautions, the post was taken down at 5:30 am on Thursday, following the outcry from students and faculty.

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