Privacy Concerns

A couple people have expressed concern about privacy on our web site.  Here is what they have to say about privacy:

My Classmate's Profile and pictures are being seen when you Google her name. She has her Profile restricted to viewing by only logged in fellow Classmates. Why is this happening? It appears the Profile restrictions are not working.

Answer: The Profile restrictions are working fine. Your Classmate is currently logged into your web site. When she logs in a thing called a "cookie" is set on her hard drive that tells our system she is logged in. Even if she leaves your web site and goes somewhere else on the Internet (e.g. Google), she is still logged into your site. So when she goes out and Googles her own name, up comes a link to your Classmate Profiles page (or sometimes a link directly to the Classmate's Profile itself). Next she is going directly to her own name and clicking on it, which brings her to her Profile and her pictures. Remember, she can see her full Profile because she has remained logged in throughout this process. Logged in Classmates can see restricted Profiles as they are supposed to. Had she not been logged in, however, instead of seeing her Profile she would have seen a message saying her Profile was restricted.

If you or your Classmate wants to see this process like the public sees it just do this: 

  1. Go to your web class site and click the "Log out" link on the left.
  2. Go to Google and search for your Classmate's name.
  3. Click on the result that takes you to your Classmate Profiles page.
  4. Now click on your Classmate's name.
  5. You will see that you get the Profile restricted message — you do not get access to the Classmate's Profile.

    Bottom line, if a Classmate thinks his or her Profile restrictions are not working it is only because your Classmate is still logged in. Have the Classmate log out of your site first by following the steps above, and then search Google for his or her own name, and it will become apparent that everything is working properly.