As members of the University of Calgary community, the electronic environment is central to our activities. We use Microsoft Office products to create documents, we work in PeopleSoft for financial information, we search in hundreds of Library databases, and we look anywhere and everywhere in the broader World Wide Web. This is highly advantageous to us but there is an important concern:
In the online world, you leave a trail!
This may be as little as an IP address or it could be detailed information about you. Sometimes what you leave behind is up to you, other times it is not. What happens to this information is yet another question.
This set of web pages presents information on several issues relating to privacy and the electronic world. Everything is given as advice only. Which online tools you utilize is up to you; however, please be informed. This is the purpose of the information here.
Environymity: An Academic Privacy Blog
Environymity is a blog established by the Privacy and ICT Subcommittee of the General Faculties Council - Libraries and Cultural Resources Committee. It is designed to be a forum where new privacy-related information can be posted and where discussions of these topics can occur. Environymity is located at environymity.blogspot.com.
Personal Information at the University of Calgary
Privacy is a serious concern at the University of Calgary. Privacy issues are coordinated by the Access and Privacy Office which has the mandate to "develop, coordinate and implement effective policies, guidelines and procedures to manage the University of Calgary's compliance with access and privacy legislation". The Access and Privacy Office website (http://www.ucalgary.ca/secretariat/privacy) provides a wealth of information related to privacy matters on campus plus links to resources elsewhere.The University of Calgary Library and Privacy
Libraries have a strong tradition of safeguarding personal information. At the University of Calgary Library, for instance, information about what books users have signed out is not easily accessible in the online library system and can only be given to authorities under court order. In more recent years, however, the Library has subscribed to thousands of online products (databases, e-journals, e-books, etc) that are not housed locally but are accessed by members of the U of C community at a distance. With these tools, the Library has much less control over personal data (e.g. search histories, personal details used to set up accounts) and what can happen to this information. See also the section on the USA PATRIOT Act below.
Provincial and Federal Legislation
There are privacy commissioners at both the Alberta and national levels of government. Their roles are to administer the appropriate privacy legislation provincially and federally. The website for the Alberta privacy commissioner is http://www.oipc.ab.ca/home/ while the federal site is http://www.privcom.gc.ca/index_e.asp. Both feature much information and links to further resources. Other Alberta sites of note include the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy page (http://foip.alberta.ca/), which features training information (http://foip.alberta.ca/training/onlinetraining.cfm); a brochure on protecting your privacy (http://www.oipc.ab.ca/ims/client/upload/ProtectPrivacy.pdf); and an introduction to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
USA PATRIOT Act
The well-known USA PATRIOT Act (also known as the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act) has been in place for several years in the United States. Perhaps the most well-known feature of the PATRIOT Act is Section 215 which allows US authorities to access personal records of any sort with disclosure. Those from whom records have been seized are not permitted to inform anyone but their legal counsel. Information can be taken from both US-based companies and organizations and their subsidiaries located elsewhere. This has the potential to have serious effect on Canadians in that much of our information is stored in circumstances that are susceptible to seizure under the PATRIOT Act. The University of Calgary Library has taken some steps to deal with this; for example, the data collected by University of Calgary users in the citation management software RefWorks and RefAware is stored in Canada on the Scholars Portal server at the University of Toronto (http://www.scholarsportal.info/) and should be immune to actions under the PATRIOT Act.
Here is the USA PATRIOT Act as originally passed by Congress: http://www.asksam.com/cgi-bin/as_web6.exe?Command=First&File=PATRIOT_Act
From the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), this site discusses Section 215: http://action.aclu.org/reformthepatriotact/215.html
The Canadian Anti-Terrorism Act
Canada has an act of a similar nature to the PATRIOT Act, the Canadian Anti-Terrorism Act, which was passed into law on December 18, 2001 (as Bill C-36).
The federal government has a site devoted to the Canadian Anti-Terrorism Act : http://justice.gc.ca/eng/antiter/index.htmlHere is Bill C-36 as passed: http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?pub=bill&doc=C-36&parl=37&ses=1&language=E
Research often involves human subjects and, as this can involve the collection of personal data and the storage and release of that information, enters the world of privacy. The best site to consult for research ethics information is http://www.ucalgary.ca/research/compliance/ethics.
Copyright is a related issue to privacy and is an important topic, especially in an academic setting. In particular, copyright in the electronic world is a topic of considerable debate. From a Canadian perspective, it is of particular concern as legislation to amend the Copyright Act was introduced on June 12, 2008. A good starting point for copyright from a U of C perspective is http://library.ucalgary.ca/services/copyright/.
Privacy and the Online Academic Environment was compiled by the Privacy and ICT Subcommittee of the General Faculties Council - Libraries and Cultural Resources Committee.
For further information or if you have questions, please contact:Jo-Ann Munn Gafuik University Access, Privacy and Policy Coordinator email@example.com (403) 220-3602