Marcus Naughton, Law Plus 3rd year and Aenne Schmidt-Stohn, Applied Languages 2nd year, have been announced as the national winners for the 2019 Red Bull Basement University competition. They will go to represent Ireland in Toronto in early December with their project: ConnectUL.
The idea came about due to the restrictions introduced by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Previously, any user of the legacy UL timetable website would be able to access another student’s timetable information by supplying that student’s ID number. However, to comply with the GDPR, this functionality has been removed due to a lack of end-user consent.
Their solution was to develop a “middleware”, which is a term to describe a service that sits between the end user and the content (being in this case, the UL timetable service). This will allow students in UL to freely associate their timetables for public lookup, or to create groups on the platform in which automatic synchronisation of available times are generated and pushed to the group. Once a student signs up, their timetable will be downloaded from UL resource systems and stored. By obtaining consent to comply with the GDPR, the service can restore the flexibility once offered to students.
This will be, if successful in development, the largest student-lead accumulation of data of the UL student body while fully satisfying privacy requirements imposed by the current legal landscape (in lieu of the Cambridge Analytica disaster). This will also provide insights into the student population to provide greater flexibility in understanding how to better improve the lives of UL students