Is OU’s web directory an invasion of privacy?

It is true that Google and Facebook can contain information that exposes where a person lives, what he or she looks like and what his or her interests are. However, that person can also lie and state false information.

Schools, colleges and universities, on the other hand, cannot lie and have to write true information. Oakland University is no exception.

For those not aware, by going to the OU web directory at, you can easily find a student’s first name and middle initial, place of residence and phone number. All you need is a last name.

And that will unlock the door to such information on everyone with that last name.

Recently in one of my classes, we were discussing Internet safety and how simple it is to access information about anyone via the web. To show just how easy it is, I demonstrated the OU web directory.

At first, the entire class objected, but I showed them how it could be done. A woman raised her hand, wanting to test whether her information could be found. It could.

Personal information is important and is supposed to be kept privately away from others.

The Internet today is becoming less secretive, but there are ways to protect an individual’s reputation, profile or personal information from reaching those who may want to commit harm onto other people. Just as it is simple to find someone’s information on OU’s website, it is easy to block it by submitting a form to the Office of the Registrar in writing.

While some may find it beneficial to be easy to reach, one can never be too careful. Students need to be careful of how they expose themselves.

The easy accessibility of personal information leaves nothing to the imagination.

Now, what can be done with that information? One can only imagine.