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Friday, 26 July, 2002, 11:53 GMT 12:53 UK
Top US colleges in hacking row
Yale University, Connecticut
Yale says students had their privacy violated
The prestigious US university of Yale has told the FBI that computers at its rival Princeton were used to hack into its online admissions system and read confidential student files.

US President George W Bush during his time at Yale University
George W Bush went to Yale
Princeton has since suspended its associate dean, Stephen LeMenager, who is also director of admissions.

The allegations emerged after several unauthorised logins to Yale's files on its admissions website were traced back to computers at Princeton's campus in the state of New Jersey, including ones in the university's admissions offices.

"We're in the process of assessing the situation to determine if there is a federal violation," Federal Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Lisa Bull said.

Competition

Both universities are in the US Ivy League - a semi-formal list of the top academic colleges in the country.


The scattering of accesses from different computers... indicates the culpability of more than one person

Yale security report
Admission to such schools is often highly competitive, with the best students in the country often becoming the subjects of virtual bidding wars between the universities.

Yale, whose alumni include current US President George W Bush and US Attorney General John Ashcroft, claims that accessing the students' information, when some had not yet been informed whether they had been accepted, compromised the admissions procedure.

Mr LeMenager admitted to accessing Yale's files using personal information from applications students had sent to Princeton, but claimed he was merely checking the site's security.

However Yale's Vice President, Dorothy K Robinson, said that Princeton had violated the students' right to privacy.

Reputation damaged

The Washington Post newspaper also said that a security report commissioned by Yale indicated the information had been accessed several times on different computers.

"The scattering of accesses from different computers...indicates the culpability of more than one person," the report stated.

The website went live in April, so that undergraduate applicants could find out if they had got places at Yale.

Applicants could access the site by using their federal identification numbers and birthdates.

The incident appears to have damaged severely Princeton's reputation, and it may now become the subject of legal action should students whose accounts were improperly accessed decide to sue.

See also:

14 Jan 02 | Americas
01 Dec 00 | Education
26 Sep 00 | Business
14 Jun 00 | Americas
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