pin_gween writes "The Washington Post reports on the probable abuse of the National Student Loan Data System. The database was created in 1993 to help determine which students are eligible for financial aid. Students' Social Security numbers, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, birth dates, and loan balances are in the database. It contains 60 million student records and is covered by federal privacy laws. Advocates worry that businesses are trolling for marketing data they can use to bombard students with mass mailings or other solicitations. The department has spent over $650,000 in the past four years protecting the data. However, some senior education officials are advocating a temporary shutdown of access to the database until tighter security measures can be put in place."