Suggestions for Improving Privacy in Higher Education

In a blog post written by Tracy Mitrano for Inside Higher Ed’s “Law, Policy — and IT?” blog, three suggestions for improving privacy in higher education were stated:

  1. Reform the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
    • Mitrano suggests that FERPA, which was passed by Congress in 1974, should be reformed to meet the needs of higher education institutions and universities. Mitrano points out that FERPA does not have “specific technical security safeguards…” and its age suggests how outdated the law is in complying with practices and present-day issues with technology, privacy, and education.

  2. Designate or Create a Chief Privacy Officer (CPO)

    • To uphold privacy policies at the university/institutional level, Chief Privacy Officers (CPO) would be designated or created in order to understand current privacy laws and policies and consistently enforce privacy practices across all departments on campus.
    • CPOs should also assist universities and institutions with “higher-level privacy issues”, such as the sale of email addresses, national policy issues related to electronic surveillance, developing policies that involve privacy (network monitoring, disclosure of electronic media), and aligning technology and law.
  3. Create an Institutional Privacy Plan Uniting Academic and Administrative Players
    • Upholding sound and reasonable privacy policies is of the utmost importance. Mitrano suggests having those with upper management roles set expectations and raise awareness for establishing privacy policies at an institution or university. Collaborating with both the academic and administrative sides will greatly increase the impact and presence of established privacy plans and strategies.

For the full explanations and story on this topic, click here!

One comment

  1. Agreed, FERPA is antiquated and needs to be more relevant to specific technical issues. For instance, should there be an unsecured wi-fi connections on campus that students can access? Unsecured wi-fi would easily allow a hacker using a packet sniffing software to steal students’ LMS login and password.

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