In an email sent to Ryerson students and faculty Wednesday afternoon, Computing and Communications Services (CCS) announced a “serious privacy and security issue with using Windows 10 Calendar.”
The email advised students to avoid using their Windows 10 Calendar to access their Ryerson Google Calendar on the grounds that any event created using the Windows calendar will automatically have “Public” visibility when opened in a Google calendar.
BREAKING: Ryerson recommends you don’t use Windows 10 Calendar to access Ryerson Google Calendar over privacy issues. pic.twitter.com/ZrtNNiKwUB
— The Ryersonian (@theryersonian) September 21, 2016
This means that anyone will be able to see the full details of the event even if that event wasn’t shared or made visible to the public.
According to Brian Lesser, chief information officer for the CCS, the only information made visible are the details a user edits within individual events. Students and staff do not need to worry about their entire calendars being made public.
“The information [affected] is the text inside the individual calendar event – not everything in a person’s calendar,” said Lesser. “For example, if I book a meeting with some people and make the meeting public, you would see the name of the meeting, who was invited, the meeting location and any text I added to the event.”
Lesser said the problem may be a combination of using a calendar system that allows posting public calendar events, as well as a problem with how Windows 10 Calendar syncs with Google Calendar.
CCS was notified of the glitch by a single Ryerson employee on Wednesday morning, who filed a complaint that some of their calendar events were public that should not have been.
According to Lesser, the number of faculty and students affected by the problem is still unclear. He estimates that up to 193 students and 131 employees have public events in their calendars and could be affected by the glitch.
“Those are just the number of people who have public events in their calendar where Windows 10 Calendar has updated something,” said Lesser. “Those public items may have been put in their calendars intentionally. If that is the case the numbers may be lower.”
CCS remains unsure of whether this is a problem caused by Microsoft or an internal problem with Ryerson’s Google Apps. Lesser said CCS has contacted Microsoft and is still waiting for a response.
To correct the problem:
- Go to the event in Google Calendar using your web browser
- Open the event
- Scroll to Visibility settings
- Select Calendar default or Private
- Click Save
BRITTANY SPENCER is a masters candidate at the Ryerson School of Journalism. Her interests include politics, public health, travel and battling an affliction for writing in passive voice. She recently covered issues surrounding prescription drug overuse and addiction, indigenous education in Canada's public schools and the ways sports culture contribute to personal identity.