Campus & Community

New policy on access to electronic information posted

2 min read

Harvard University has posted a new University-wide policy on access to electronic information.

The policy is a result of a report and draft document published on Feb. 26 by a task force led by David Barron, the S. William Green Professor of Public Law at Harvard Law School.

Following a period of open community consultation, the Harvard Corporation approved a new policy in late March.

“I am grateful to David Barron and to the members and staff of the task force for their thoughtful and thorough work on this issue,” said Harvard President Drew Faust.  “I also want to acknowledge those members of the community who reviewed and provided input on the draft policy during the open comment period.

“This policy is an important response to a complex set of challenges,” said Faust. “It reflects the values that underpin our work as an academic community — transparency, trust, and respect for academic freedom — and as such will serve us well in the years ahead.”

The policy on electronic information is grounded on six important principles:

  • Access should occur only for a legitimate and important University purpose.
  • Access should be authorized by an appropriate and accountable person.
  • In general, notice should be given when user electronic information will be or has been accessed.
  • Access should be limited to the user electronic information needed to accomplish the purpose.
  • Sufficient records should be kept to enable appropriate review of compliance with this policy.
  • Access should be subject to ongoing, independent oversight by a committee that includes faculty representation.

The independent oversight committee will be chaired by John Goldberg, the Eli Goldston Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.