Alumni privacy assured in UH directory project


POSTED: Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Question: Several family members received yellow postcards regarding “;University of Hawaii Alumni Today.”; The cards had “;Personal ID”; numbers on the backs and said, “;A brief telephone call will ensure your listing is completely accurate and up-to-date.”; I called to remove my name. But when I called to remove my son's, mother's and sister's information, the agent said that their names and addresses would be included unless they opted out, and that each needed to call separately. I was disconnected when I asked to speak to a supervisor, but called back and did get their names removed. Can they print names and addresses without explicit permission?

Answer: Officials with the University of Hawaii Foundation's Office of Alumni Relations want to assure you that your personal identification is safe.

They were also emphatic that information would not be published without permission.

“;We have been working on this for several weeks to verify that if people don't call and confirm, and the information is unverified, that it won't be included”; in the directory, said Stacia Garlach, director of marketing and communication for the Office of Alumni Relations. “;We just want it to be something for people to participate in if they choose to.”;

Garlach said that Harris Connect, which will publish the UH directory next March, confirmed Monday that it will not include information about alumni unless they contact the company.

Alumni who have not yet been contacted but do wish to participate can call the same number—(866) 874-7468—to opt in.

Garlach also explained that the personal ID number printed on the postcard is part of Harris Connect's numbering system and does not jeopardize anyone's personal information.

The Alumni Office does not receive any proceeds from sales of the directories.

“;Harris Connect is taking care of the whole process—fielding people's responses and processing that, doing the phone calls and taking phone calls,”; Garlach said. “;The way they make money is by selling the directories. We benefit by having our information updated.”;

Harris Connect also published the alumni directory in 2005. “;They will not be passing the information along to anyone else or using it for anything else,”; Garlach said.

Garlach said her office has fielded many calls about the directory. “;We completely understand that in this day and age you can't be too careful, and we're really glad that they're contacting us and asking us.”;

She wanted to let people know, “;We're not trying to do anything evil. We just want to keep alumni connected. ... We'll use the information to try to contact them about news about the university and things like that.”;

As of Monday, Harris Connect had received 27,285 responses, with 4,448 reservations for directories. It will accept updates and reservations until Jan. 4, Garlach said.

Question: Is it legal for a security company to park company vehicles 24 hours a day in a handicap-marked stall? This is happening at a private housing project.

Answer: No, it is not, and you should call 911 to report the violation, said Honolulu police spokeswoman Michelle Yu.

Under the “;Parking for Disabled Persons”; law, any public or private entity that provides a disabled parking space has to comply with all the requirements and restrictions of that law.

Write to ”;Kokua Line”; at Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).