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Open Data, Grey Data, and Stewardship
Luncheon Series

Open Data, Grey Data, and Stewardship

Universities at the Privacy Frontier

This event was co-sponsored by the Harvard Data Science Initiative and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. Event introduction and moderation was provided by Elizabeth Langdon-Gray, Executive Director of the Harvard Data Science Initiative.


The growth in availability of digital data resources is changing university practice in more ways than most faculty, administrators, and students are aware. Researchers provide open access to their data as a condition for obtaining grant funding or publishing results in journals, leading to an explosion of available scholarly content. Universities have automated many aspects of teaching, instruction, student services, libraries, personnel management, building management, and finance, leading to a profusion of discrete data about the activities of individuals. Many of these data, both research and operational, fall outside privacy regulations such as HIPAA, FERPA, and PII. Universities see great value of these data for learning analytics, faculty evaluation, strategic decisions, and other sensitive matters. Commercial entities, governments, and private individuals also see value in these data and are besieging universities with requests for access. These conflicts pose challenges in balancing obligations for stewardship, trust, privacy, confidentiality – and often academic freedom – with the value of exploiting data for analytical and commercial purposes. This talk, based on a new article in the Berkeley Law and Technology Journal, draws on the pioneering work of the University of California in privacy and information security, data governance, and cyber risk.

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Related readings: 

Borgman, C. L. (2017, November). Open Data, Trust, and Stewardship: Universities at the Privacy Frontier. The 10th Annual BCLT Privacy Lecture, Berkeley, CA. Retrieved from

Borgman, C. L. (2018). Open Data, Grey Data, and Stewardship: Universities at the Privacy Frontier. Berkeley Technology Law Journal, 33(2), 287–336.

Past Event
Oct 9, 2018
12:00 PM - 1:15 PM ET
HLS Wasserstein Hall, Milstein East C (Room 2036, second floor)
1585 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138 US

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The Berkman Klein Center Luncheon Series is a weekly forum for conversations about Internet issues and research. It is free and open to the public.