I'm glad I'm not a law student
Date: Tuesday, February 14 2006
Students writing LSAT warned about privacy threat
Last Updated Mon, 13 Feb 2006 11:21:32 EST
The University of Ottawa is warning aspiring lawyers that they may be giving up their privacy when they hand over thumbprints while taking an admission test administered by a U.S. company.
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT), which is used by universities around the world, requires prospective students to provide an imprint of their thumb and other personal information, a move to prevent students from hiring smart impostors to write the test on their behalf.
A private company in the United States, the Law School Admission Council, administers the test.
Privacy experts and students are worried about how the Patriot Act, which allows U.S. agencies to secretly collect personal information in the name of national security, might affect information handed over to the company.
"The act gives the power to agencies such as the FBI to get access to information that is sent to the U.S.," said Daniel Gervais, acting dean of the common-law section at the University of Ottawa.
The website of the faculty of law says the university is "greatly worried by the use of personal information" required by the LSAT, especially the thumbprint.
Last week, David Loukidelis, B.C.'s information and privacy commissioner, agreed to investigate the company's request for information after a student complained about the requirement.
"We'll be looking at, 'Is it appropriate to force someone who wants to take that test to give up that personal identifier in the nature of a thumbprint?'" said Loukidelis.
[Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on February 16, 2006]