Feeds

Exam bosses target faster cheat takedowns

ISPs tapped for emergency copyright hotlines

Top three mobile application threats

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. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app
Jibber-jabbering addicts turfed out just as Zuck warned
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.