After Posting Confidential Student Information, Anonymous Twitter Account Is Unplugged

A WikiLeaks-style Twitter account that on Monday published confidential information about Lindenwood University students has been unplugged.

The anonymous account, called LindenLeaks, drew the attention of Lindenwood University officials and the police in St. Charles, Mo., on Monday evening after leaking the names of more than 180 students who were suspended for the fall 2011 term, according to a report on Wednesday in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

A university spokesman told the newspaper that all the students on the list had been notified of the breach, and the institution broadcast news of the leak via its own Twitter account on Tuesday. Although the list contained telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, and grade-point averages, no Social Security numbers were released. The spokesman added that the university intended to prosecute the account’s owner.

The LindenLeaks account disappeared from the Web early Wednesday, though a statement that appears to spell out the anonymous user’s motive remains online. It asserts that LindenLeaks had no specific grievances against the university or its faculty members. It adds that the leak intended to create a dialogue with administrators, specifically referring to Lindenwood’s director of student life and leadership, Kerry M. Cox.

“What I do have is a desire to open dialogue between the student body and the members with which they take issue in an open format and anonymously if they so desire,” the statement reads. “I also have a desire to see information previously kept secret by the university (including various housing, business office, and customer relation issues) kept in the open.”

After learning of the leak, the university filed a request with Twitter to take the account offline. But it was unclear if Twitter had granted the university’s request or if the user behind the account had disabled it. The university could face an inquiry and financial penalties for its handling of student data, the Post-Dispatch reported.

[Creative Commons licensed Flickr photo by Fristle]

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