Data privacy and ethics at UQ

27 May 2020

To operate and deliver services to staff, students and the community, UQ collects and manages information. Although our IT systems help to protect this information, the UQ community plays a key role in ensuring sensitive information is kept safe. Below we will outline your responsibilities in terms of data privacy and ethics.

Data privacy
Data privacy relates to how a piece of information or data should be protected from unauthorised access, use and disclosure based on its confidentiality, integrity and availability needs.

As a UQ employee, you have certain responsibilities in terms of data privacy. These include:

You may also like to consider your data privacy at home, for example,

  • Know what you are sharing online. Guard your personal information such as your date of birth, telephone number and address.
  • Keep your work and personal presences separate.
  • Review your privacy settings on social media accounts. 

Data ethics
Data ethics is concerned with the moral standards applied and assessments made when working with data. It involves a range of considerations for which you use your discretion. Another way to frame data ethics is around the following question; “Just because I can, should I?”

If you use UQ data, or data in general, as part of your role (e.g. creating reports or dashboards), you should incorporate data ethics into decision making when using data. Some considerations include:

  • Privacy: reasonable effort needs to be made to preserve privacy, especially if others are accessing this data. Do you have PII you need to de-identify?
  • Consent: do you require consent or a Data Sharing Agreement to use the data?
  • How is the data you are working with being used/interpreted by others (for example downstream uses)?
  • Always follow the law and UQ’s policies, but understand that this is just a minimum expectation.
  • Be wary of collecting data just for the sake of having data.
  • Use practices that incorporate transparency, configurability, accountability and auditability.

More information