OxShag account deleted after Oxford students’ fury at privacy of ‘casual shag’ site
The site allows students to select up to 20 people they’d like to ‘casually shag’
A student hook-up site which allowed Oxford University students to select up to 20 fellow staff or students they’d like to “shag” has deleted its social media account following student fury over a potential breach of privacy.
OxShag, which aims to “to bring [Oxford students’] wildest fantasies to life this Valentine’s Day” has stressed it’s not affiliated with the university. Since launching two days ago, the site has repeatedly gone online and offline as the creator attempts to combat students’ anger.
Rather than any sexual fantasies however, the project creator now risks having breached GDPR laws and the university’s own policies regarding misusing its internal IT database.
When it launched on Saturday evening, the site asked students to enter their university email address before being allowed to select a list of any 20 staff or students they wished to have a “casual shag” with. Using the internal Oxford University email system, every student’s name appeared on the site as well as their college with no prior consent.
You were then set to receive an email telling you how many matches you had received before paying the site owner £3 to reveal the names of your matches.
In response to questions from students who were bemused at their name appearing on the site, the (now deleted) account said: “Without loading everyone’s names onto the website, it would be impossible to match people.”
“Just because your name is listed on OxShag doesn’t mean you are participating.”
This response was not accepted by a vast proportion of the student population. Taking to students confession site, Oxfess, numerous people reacted with anger as students suggested writing to their local MPs, filing a class-action lawsuit and reporting the incident to Thames Valley Police.
Yesterday evening, the site owner responded to the mounting backlash and altered the site. Students now have to “opt in” to OxShag by entering their email and then “nominating” the names of students they wish to be matched with. Fears have been raised this doesn’t alleviate the privacy concerns as the site explains how students can find the email address of any Oxford student they wish.
Nominated students are then sent “a generic email” telling them someone has requested they sign up to OxShag. In a deleted Instagram post, the account said it lowered the price to reveal the name of your matches to £1 due to “popular demand”.
Since this story was published, The Tab can now reveal that OxShag’s creator has said that despite starting the website “genuinely with the best of intentions” they will no longer be running it this term due to the backlash it has received.
Concerns about the sharing of students’ data has led some students to point out the data initially shared on the OxShag website is also publicly available from the university’s website. In the interest of student’s privacy, we have decided not to share a link to this. The online database on the university website allows members of the public to search for a student’s name and see their email address and college.
However it is important to stress concerned students can opt-out of this policy when re-registering through Student Self-Service. The information is only made available for “academic activities” and it is a breach of the university’s rules for any individual to use the information for “any other purposes.”
A University of Oxford spokesperson said: “The university was very concerned to learn of this website and is taking immediate action to minimise the risk to our students to our students and staff and rectify this misuse of personal data.”
OxShag and the University of Oxford have been approached for comment.
Related stories recommended by this writer:
• A rundown of every fresher you have met this year: Which one are you?
• AJ Tracey launches fund to help support and mentor Black students at Oxford University
• Number of students investigated for cheating at Oxford Uni up by 120 per cent in two years
Featured image credit before edits Marvin Lagonera on Unsplash