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ERIC Number: EJ893676
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 23
ISSN: ISSN-0271-0579
The Tension between Data Confidentiality and National Security in Higher Education
Lester, Cathe
New Directions for Institutional Research, n146 p11-22 Sum 2010
Institutional researchers are responsible for the collection, organization, analysis, and maintenance of large amounts of personally identifiable data on students, faculty, and staff. Not only are institutional research (IR) offices required to report these data to state and federal agencies, they are also responsible for providing information to campus leaders to assess institutional effectiveness, assist in grant evaluation, or comply with outside requests for information. The importance of safeguarding and maintaining the confidentiality of data is quite clear in the professional codes of ethics that guide the IR profession, and researchers are aware of the principle of confidentiality inherent in the use of these data. Implicit in the term "confidentiality" is the belief that data collected for statistical purposes will be protected against disclosure to unauthorized users. The efforts to protect the confidentiality of statistical data have a long history in the federal statistical system, especially in the U.S. Census Bureau. Historically, efforts to strengthen federal policies and laws of statistical confidentiality have been in reaction to the use of confidential statistical data for administrative or regulatory purposes during times of national crisis. The attempt to protect the confidentiality of statistical data in times of national crisis continues today. This article briefly reviews the history of statistical confidentiality within the Census Bureau, the uneven progression of policies and laws to protect statistical confidentiality, and the use of confidential data during times of national crisis. In addition, it introduces the newly implemented federal law, the E-Government Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2002, to protect confidentiality of statistical data and notes the continuing tension between federal statistical and administrative agencies on the use of statistical data.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A