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Data Privacy Legislation: A Policy Brief

With the ubiquity of mobile devices and the increases in data breaches, Congress has responded with bi-partisan support for comprehensive privacy legislation.  As of August 2011, 18 bills have been introduced in Congress concerning data privacy.  The EDUCAUSE Policy Analysis and Advocacy Program Policy Brief: “Data Privacy Legislation: An Analysis of the Current Legislative Landscape and the Implications for Higher Education” analyzes these various pieces of legislation.  If enacted, many of the bills have implications for data collection, storage, and use that could affect campus IT operations and academic research.

Opinion differs as to whether any legislation will be signed into law.  However since higher education institutions handle personal data at various levels of their operation, it is important that we are attentive to passage of any legislation that require ISPs to retain more information about users and to ensure that the data that are already retained are adequately protected against disclosure.  EDUCAUSE will continue to monitor and report on the progress of these various pieces of legislation.  NOTE: On  September 22nd, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved three bills aimed at setting national standards for security breaches involving personal data.  See blog post of September 23rd for an updated status on these pieces of legislation.

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