We all hope and expect that our personal data we must share in the course of our daily lives will be protected by those that we trust with that information–be that financial information we give to banks and lenders, credit card numbers we turn over to stores, health information we share with our doctors and insurers, or personal information that we share with our employer. As a higher education institution we collect a wide range of personal information in order to do our work. With that comes the responsibility to be a good steward of the data you collect, create, store, share, and destroy at Tufts.
Today, Monday, January 28 is International Privacy Day, an opportunity to reflect on your rights to personal privacy and the rights of others who have entrusted you to safeguard theirs. Since 1981, The U.S., Canada, E.U., and others have set this day aside to raise awareness, generate reflection and promote general discussion about privacy. Information flows freely at blazing speed today, and it lives for a long time. Accordingly, each of us has a role to play on both sides of the stewardship effort, as we are all subjects who provide information and stewards that collect it at the same time. It is important to think before you give information to others and be mindful of what information you are creating, where you are storing it, and how long you need to keep it.
Things you can do
- Know what’s important. Most of the time it’s personnel, student, finance, healthcare, and personal identification records that need extra care.
- Know where it is. Are there storage areas (basements, attics, closets) that may have been used by your office as file storage now or in the past? Do you know what is there? Do you have old data stored on computers, external hard drives or thumb drives? Do you know where that data and media are-–and do you still really need it? Tufts has tools to find and manage our old data.
- Don’t throw records or media in the trash or give devices or computers to others. Use secure disposal and contact your support professional for e-recycling options.
- Ask your support professional if your computing devices are automatically managed for easy and safe computing. If not, learn how to become part of that, or master the steps to manage IT well.
- Put a password on your mobile device. Most of the sensitive information in there is yours!
Resources you can use
Thanks to the efforts of countless community members, distributed Information Stewardship is vibrant and healthy at Tufts today.
- Contact and get to know your Information Steward to learn about protecting the information you are responsible for managing.
- Contact the Digital Collections and Archives (x73737 or firstname.lastname@example.org) for general questions about effective and safe recordkeeping and to determine if inactive files (paper or electronic) should be destroyed or transferred to the archives.
- Open a ticket or email your support professional for participation in safe computing programs and helpful tips for everyday use. And, don’t let scammers spook you into giving them information.
Tufts has an Information Stewardship Policy and supporting policies that provides clear guidance on appropriately creating, managing, sharing, and protecting information.
This spring, new information management and protection training will be available to all schools and divisions to help support the consistent day-to-day practice of protecting privacy across the university. Working together, we will steward our personal and institutional information well, and protect our rights to good privacy.
Tufts Human Resources
Tufts University Relations
Tufts Digital Collections and Archives
Tufts University Technology Services