I was not going to post on this subject. I figured it had been done by the Treespotter and by my reckoning his readership is much bigger than mine and includes a lot of the same people. However, it is probably important that as many people as possible read about this stupidity and then write about it. Perhaps, the more it is written about will increase the chances that it will be talked about in the right circles, and then something will be done about it.
The Department of National Education in their drive to greater transparency and accountability has decided in its infinite wisdom to post the names, student numbers, addresses, and other details of some several million students in easy to download excel files. These files have been available for a little while now.
I am not going to post the link even though I have it. I checked earlier today and it is still operational.
What this means. If you have school age children and they go to one of the schools on the list then in all likelihood their details and probably your address are online. This would seem to be a kidnapper's dream tool. As it limits their basic research to one site and provides them with all manner of information.
One of the problems is that these files have already been indexed by Google and most probably a whole lot of other search engines. The problem is that any request to remove these files from indexes and the cache memories or search engines will fall on deaf ears until such time as the Department of National Education removes them from their system. Simply, for Google and others to remove them would provide no solution as the next time indexing and caching was done the files would reappear.
What is interesting is that all those people that are in a position to do something about this are aware of it. There does not seem to be a lot of interest or urgency in getting these files and the information that they contain out of the public domain. This is where blogging and getting the word around might help in illuminating to those that can remove these files that this is a serious issue and people's privacy and the privacy of children is at stake. This is a public safety as well as a law and order issue.
The law in Indonesia would seem to provide some basic protections for privacy. However, the best protections might come from more recent Indonesian legislation that seeks to enact the intent of several human rights instruments such as those contained in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of the Child.
The need for access to information is critical. There is no dispute that the Department of Education needs this information to effectively and efficiently do its job. What is not so clear is why this information is needed in the public domain and what purpose it serves by being there.
More will follow as any updates become available (photo was found here).