Why we need to talk about cyber attack compensation

Callum Sawyers explains why he’s still angry about the cyber attack

Callum Sawyers
1st March 2021
Image: Museum Digital and Wikimedia Commons, edited by Joe Molander
In his 18 February visit to Student Council, Vice Chancellor Chris Day answered some questions from students. Day promised to answer the questions that he couldn’t answer in the Q&A session at a later date. One of the questions that didn’t get answered was mine:

“Is there any good reason why students don’t deserve compensation for our data being leaked by the cyber attack last year?”

It’s a simple question, and I don’t understand how it’s been ignored since our data was breached in September.

When we enrolled at this university, we had to hand over data about ourselves that the University promised to keep safe. It failed. It failed, but we are the ones who’ve had to deal with the results of its lack of professionalism.  

Since our data was leaked onto the dark web, we too have been left in the dark. The University told us back in November to “stay alert for phishing attempts” as a result of the “cyber-incident”, and since then we’ve had radio silence.

The onus isn’t just on the University either. Our Sabbatical Officers have also failed to represent students’ interests and force the University’s hand when it comes to compensation. We elected them to represent our interests and they’ve allowed the University to push the data leaks to one side. There has still been no mention of compensation for the tens of thousands of students affected.

As students who have been failed by the University’s data security, we deserve compensation. It’s not our fault that our data was leaked. We need to make sure we get compensation, and not just for the sake of our bank accounts. Compensation would also set an important precedent for any other university that fails to take the security of its students’ data seriously.

And don’t get me started on tuition fees.

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