Harvard to review privacy polices in wake of email search scandal

Lack of standard policies 'highly inadequate,' university president says

By , Computerworld |  Security

At Tuesday's meeting, Harvard Dean Evelyn Hammond noted that two additional searches had taken place that were not previously disclosed. After the initial search identified the resident dean responsible for forwarding the email, Hammond said she authorized another search to look specifically for correspondence between that individual and two student reporters from the Crimson.

In addition, Hammond said she also authorized a search of the same dean's personal email account for correspondence with the reporters. In both cases, the search involved only the subject lines and not the actual content of the emails, she said in comments posted on Harvard Magazine. She apologized for not informing her peers or the deans about the searches, but insisted that her actions were driven purely by concerns over student privacy.

The incident has proved to be embarrassing for Harvard. Several faculty members have faulted the university for not informing deans about the searches and said they fear the incident could erode trust between administrators, faculty members and staff.

Acknowledging those concerns, Faust said Tuesday that she has also asked a leading Boston lawyer from outside Harvard to conduct a full investigation into how the searches were conducted and to verify that the information provided so far is a full and accurate description of what actually happened.

Jaikumar Vijayan covers data security and privacy issues, financial services security and e-voting for Computerworld. Follow Jaikumar on Twitter at @jaivijayan or subscribe to Jaikumar's RSS feed. His e-mail address is jvijayan@computerworld.com.

See more by Jaikumar Vijayan on Computerworld.com.

Read more about privacy in Computerworld's Privacy Topic Center.

Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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