Researchers

As U-M researcher, you are responsible for safeguarding information about your research, as well as university information that you may have access to. Use this Sensitive Data Guide to learn about appropriate services for storing and sharing sensitive research and other university information.

Commonly Used Data Types

  • Confidential communications between a client and an attorney for the purpose of securing legal advice. For the privilege of confidentiality to exist, the communication must be to, from, or with an attorney.
  • Export Controlled Research includes information that is regulated for reasons of national security, foreign policy, anti-terrorism, or non-proliferation. The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR) govern this data type. Current law requires that this data be stored in the U.S and that only authorized U.S. persons be allowed access to it.
  • The Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) requires federal agencies and those providing services on their behalf to develop, document, and implement security programs for information technology systems and store the data on U.S. soil. This means that, under some federal contracts or grants, information the university collects or information systems that the university uses to...
  • According to university policy, data will typically be classified as sensitive if any of the following are true: Unauthorized disclosure may have serious adverse effects on the university’s reputation, resources, or services or on individuals It is protected under federal or state regulations. There are proprietary, ethical, or privacy considerations.
  • Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is a category of sensitive information that is associated with an individual person, such as an employee, student, or donor. PII should be accessed only on a strict need-to-know basis and handled and stored with care. PII is information that can be used to uniquely identify, contact, or locate a single person. Personal information that is “de-identified...
  • Protected Health Information (PHI) is defined by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). PHI is individually identifiable health information that relates to the Past, present, or future physical or mental health or condition of an individual. Provision of health care to the individual by a covered entity (for example, hospital or doctor). Past, present, or future payment...
  • Sensitive identifiable human subject research data is regulated by the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects (also called the “Common Rule”). Among other requirements, the Common Rule mandates that researchers protect the privacy of subjects and maintain confidentiality of human subject data. A human subject is defined by federal regulations as a "living individual about whom an...
  • Social Security numbers are unique, nine-digit numbers issued to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and temporary (working) residents for taxation, social benefits, and other purposes. Social Security numbers are a primary target for identity thieves. They fall into the U-M category of sensitive Personally Identifiable Information (PII). U-M has not used Social Security numbers as identifiers...
  • Records that contain information directly related to a student and that are maintained by the University of Michigan or by a person acting for the university. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) governs release of, and access to, student education records. Directory information about a student is not regulated by FERPA and can be released by the university without the student's...