Contact details sold

July 22, 2005

Swedish student unions are protesting against universities and colleges selling students' personal information to recruitment agencies, unions, book clubs and marketing companies.

Under Swedish law, all information - from staff salaries to students'

contact details - stored on the central university and college database, Ladok, is classified as a public record and can legally be accessed by the public.

The Swedish teachers' union regularly purchases details of teacher trainees to recruit members. Publisher Ordfront Forlag purchases information about students interested in politics, while many marketing companies use the database to solicit mobile phone and internet subscriptions.

Robin Larson, chairman of Gothenburg Student Union, told Gothenburg Metro :

"It's a question of integrity. It's totally unacceptable that students should be more likely to be targeted by advertisers because our contact details and personal information are so readily accessible."

The only way to prevent companies purchasing information is through a change in the law.

One student union suggested that universities charge more for the information to deter companies.

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