Data and information Privacy at Higher Education Institutions

DATA AND INFORMATION PRIVACY AT HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS5Dataand information Privacy at Higher Education Institutions

Dataand information Privacy at Higher Education Institutions

Theinternet has arguably hada wide-ranging impacton highereducationinstitutions.Withtherecentgrowingnumberof internet users,data andinformationprivacyhas becomea growingconcernforhighereducation.Althoughtheinternet has madeiteasiertogatherandstorelargeamountsof data inweb-based databases, highereducationinstitutionshould haveto lookcarefullyon who,why,andhowtheyusestudentandemployeedata (Forest, 2002).Oneof themajorconcernsrelatesto privacyandsecurityof informationstoredon computers,as wellas, theuseof online materialson varioussites.

Whatis data privacy?

Informationor data privacy underlines the relationship between data collectionand dissemination, technology, public privacy expectation, as well asthe political and legal issues pertaining to them. Itis possibleto monitor,logandrecordwebbehaviorsandthepatternsusedby peoplewhoaccesstheinternet in emailing andgeneralsurfing among others. Accordingto Reynolds (2014), acceptablepoliciesneedto be madeavailableforinternet users sothatadministratorsof highereducationinstitutionshavea moreclearlydefinedfunctionin themonitoring of theinternet usage.

Dataprotection in Research

Oneof the major concerns about data privacy revolves around protectionof data in research. It is well acknowledged that any social researchmay involve the disclosure of private and otherwise confidentialinformation. Such information is used in examining varied aspects ofthe society so as to have a better understanding of the same.However, the advent of technology, while having increased theeffectiveness in collection, storage and retrieval of such data, hasalso resulted in higher susceptibility of such information. In mostcases, such data falls in the wrong hands as a result ofcarelessness, while there are instances where hackers attack theinstitutions’ data systems.

Datain Emerging Technologies

Thedigital natureof learningin highereducationinstitutionmakesdata moresusceptibleto variousformsof academicdishonesty.Therefore,data privacyhas becomea majorconcernandmust be takeninto consideration,especially whenplanningweb-based education.Thetechnology usedforon-line conveniencehas itsoffside in makingcheatingandplagiarismeasythrough copying materialsfrom websites andotherstudent’sassignments.Cheatingandplagiarismhas becomemoreevidentas manystudentsfrequentlyprepare,upload andsharetheirworkthrough online means(Light et al., 2012). On theotherhand,institutionsusethesametechnology to document,recordandevaluatetheirlearning,which portraysanotherthreatto securityandprivacyof thedata andinformation.Lightet al. addsthatmanyhigherlearninginstitutionshaveapproachedtheissueof academicdishonestyreluctantly,butonlyinvolveseriousdisciplinary processin caseswhereevidenceis overwhelming.

Personalinformation privacy

Sensitivepersonal information underlines any type of information that anindividual believes should remain confidential. Identifiableinformation, on the other hand, underlines any information that maybe used to locate, contact or identify the individual to whom theinformation relates.

Withtheadventof computersandtheadvancedtechnology, numerouscompaniesandinstitutionsstorebigdata in databases containingpersonaldata. In manyinstitutions,thistechnology is usedto understandandperformin waysthat improvestudentachievement,communityengagement,andinstitutionaccountability(Parry, 2012). Despite thesebenefits,itpresentsseveraldrawbacks,andone drawbackbeingthechallengeto data andinformationprivacy.Thisconcernhas raisedfearsespeciallyin areasof breachesto studentrecords.Theincreasingdata breachesincidentsillustratethatcollegesanduniversitiesare highlysusceptibleto compromisinginformation.Researchindicatesthatcomputeranddata securityis stillat a relativelylowlevel of maturityin higherlearninginstitutions(Norris, 2007). Onlyfewinstitutionsimplementmeasuresto counter privacy threats, which include implementing securitypolicy,updating systems as technology changes andofferingcomputersecuritytrainingto their personnel among others.

Inconclusion,web-based educationprovidesgoodopportunitiesbecauseof theeasyaccessof informationavailableon theinternet. Theproblemis, theinternet can beusedas a toolforfabricationandfalsification of data andinformation.However,protectingdata privacyandensuringconfidentiality is a relevantissuein addressingdata storage,anditshould putinto consideration.Highereducationinstitutionsshould focuson storage,securityandplagiarismas itis crucialto maintainingdata andinformationprivacy,as wellas, theintegrityof intellectualpropertyandacademicauthenticity. Thus,preservingtheintegrityof theinstitutionandstudentshould be centralin ensuringtheirsuccessandlongevityof institutions.

References

Forest,J. J. (2002). HigherEducation in the United States: A-L.Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO.

Light,T. P., Chen, H. L., &amp Ittelson, J. C. (2012). DocumentingLearning with ePortfolios: A Guide for College Instructors.San Francisco: John Wiley &amp Sons,.

Norris,D. F. (2007). CurrentIssues and Trends in E-government Research.Hershey, PA: Cybertech Pub..

Parry,M. (2012, July 18). BigData on campus.New York Times.

Reynolds,G. W. (2014). Ethicsin information technology(5th ed.). Boston, Mass.: Cengage Learning.