The Canadian Privacy Law Blog: Developments in privacy law and writings of a Canadian privacy lawyer, containing information related to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (aka PIPEDA) and other Canadian and international laws.

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The author of this blog, David T.S. Fraser, is a Canadian privacy lawyer who practices with the firm of McInnes Cooper. He is the author of the Physicians' Privacy Manual. He has a national and international practice advising corporations and individuals on matters related to Canadian privacy laws.

For full contact information and a brief bio, please see David's profile.

Please note that I am only able to provide legal advice to clients. I am not able to provide free legal advice. Any unsolicited information sent to David Fraser cannot be considered to be solicitor-client privileged.

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The views expressed herein are solely the author's and should not be attributed to his employer or clients. Any postings on legal issues are provided as a public service, and do not constitute solicitation or provision of legal advice. The author makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained herein or linked to. Nothing herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent counsel.

This web site is presented for informational purposes only. These materials do not constitute legal advice and do not create a solicitor-client relationship between you and David T.S. Fraser. If you are seeking specific advice related to Canadian privacy law or PIPEDA, contact the author, David T.S. Fraser.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Universities get a failing grade for security of personal information 

Thanks to Rob Hyndman for sending me this link.

The New York Times has been noticing that universities offer a plentiful supply of privacy incidents, not only related to student information but also information about research subjects. The article does a good job of noticing the problem and thinking about its root cause:

The New York Times > Technology > Some Colleges Falling Short in Security of Computers: "... Data collected by the Office of Privacy Protection in California, for example, showed that universities and colleges accounted for about 28 percent of all security breaches in that state since 2003 - more than any other group, including financial institutions.

'Universities are built on the free flow of information and ideas,' said Stanton S. Gatewood, the chief information security officer at the University of Georgia, which is still investigating a hacking incident there last year that may have exposed records on some 20,000 people.

'They were never meant to be closed, controlled entities. They need that exchange and flow of information, so they built their networks that way.'

In many cases, Mr. Gatewood said, that free flow has translated into a highly decentralized system that has traditionally granted each division within a university a fair amount of autonomy to set up, alter and otherwise maintain its own fleet of networked computers. Various servers that handle mail, Web traffic and classroom activities - 'they're all out in the colleges within the university system,' Mr. Gatewood explained, 'and they don't necessarily report to the central I.T. infrastructure.'..."


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