Feeds

Exam bosses target faster cheat takedowns

ISPs tapped for emergency copyright hotlines

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

Authorities worried that the imminent exam season will see questions leaked online have appealed to ISPs for help arranging for them to be pulled from the web quicker.

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA), which is responsible for producing national curriculum assessments and the security of papers, said it was worried that normal procedures for removing illegally posted copyright material online were not fast enough.

"Previous instances of unlawful publication of QCA copyright material have demonstrated that the usual public routes for the notification of a copyright breach (which may be sufficient for dealing with post-exam publication of papers) may not react swiftly enough to limit the damage in an emergency pre-test publication," the QCA wrote.

To help speed up the process, the authority has asked hosting firms to supply it with an emergency hotline phone number, staffed by employees authorised to take down pages. It also asked for the hotline to be manned outside working hours.

The QCA's letter, signed on behalf of its director of corporate and legal affairs Carol Copland, said: "Maintaining secrecy and confidentiality in relation to national curriculum test questions, especially in the period prior to the test, is a matter of critical importance to QCA and a matter of public interest."

She promised only to use the contact information "in genuine emergency situations".

Trefor Davies, CTO of business ISP Timico, said his firm would be happy to supply a takedown hotline number, but warned UK ISPs would only be able to act when they are hosting exam questions.

"I can see a problem with the approach," he said. "It is quite possible for kids to upload this information to non-UK-based sites who might not be interested in helping the QCA and who indeed the QCA will never have heard of."

Nicholas Lansman, secretary-general of internet trade association ISPA, said whether to "take the extra step" of offering an out-of-hours emergency takedown was a matter for individual ISPs. "It's very clear that this is not about blocking or stuff that's hosted elsewhere," he said.

Qualifications authorities worldwide are fighting a battle with cheats online. As well as the fear that exam questions could easily be published if leaked, an active market in assessment essays has emerged. In 2007, UK universities applauded Google after it bowed to pressure to stop serving adverts for such services.

This year's national curriculum exams, sat by 7, 11 and 14-year-olds, begin next week. The QCA appealed to ISPs to supply emergency contact details as soon as possible. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Google Nest, ARM, Samsung pull out Thread to strangle ZigBee
But there's a flaw in Google's IP-based IoT system
Orange spent weekend spamming customers with TXTs
Zero, not infinity, is the Magic Number customers want
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
NBN Co execs: No FTTN product until 2015
Faster? Not yet. Cheaper? No data
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.