No Flashing Your Data, Please

Teachable moment here while you are all still frantically searching for a glimmer of payline hope. A security breech inspired this NIH reminder of one of the absolutely fundamental principles of conducting research that involves your peers … ie, other human beings:

“Recipients of NIH-funded research are reminded of their responsibility to protect sensitive and confidential data as part of proper stewardship of federally funded research …

NIH recognizes that protecting research data and information can be particularly challenging and can create a burden that may be viewed as interfering with the research enterprise. It is not our intention to obstruct research, but to raise awareness of the situation and to have our grantees take reasonable measures to safeguard the information entrusted to them by research participants.”

This is a thoughtfully crafted notice, so kudos to the author.

And as you trot around with that flash drive of data, imagine it having your SSN and every other bit of sensitive personal information you would not want to have shared with a few million strangers. Do unto others’ data as you would have them do unto you. Something like that.


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