• Law, Policy -- and IT?

    Tracy Mitrano explores the intersection where higher education, the Internet and the world meet (and sometimes collide).


Things Are Looking Up (Policy-wise)!

Higher ed, email, security and more.

September 8, 2015

Higher Education Hits the Big Time

First, two sides of the Hillary Clinton coin. One side is that she has made a serious proposal for higher education reform. Although attention to higher education has increased in the political arena for some time now, Clinton’s proposal strikes me as the most serious. Whether you like her or not, a serious proposal for access to higher education breaks the “public policy” barrier. Time has come where we can finally say that higher education is beginning to be recognized as a issue of broad social interest. Traditional association and some higher education leaders may not welcome that development. The mantra among policy wonks has been to avoid government oversight.  In the day of expanding economy and a middle class, that mantra was appropriate. But complex factors have changed circumstances. Higher education can no longer afford the luxury of remaining outside the main scope of national politics. Embrace it, policy wonks, and make sure it spins in the direction that maintains institutional autonomy and missions.

Email Matters (and so does information technology and Internet policy)

The other side of the Hillary Clinton coin is today’s apology for email debacle when she was Secretary of State. In so doing, even if it was under duress from her own defenses, she has performed a public policy service. Information management matters at every level and in every sector: government, higher education, etc. To be sure, it is a moving target and we all know how very easy it was for her, or Chancellor Wise or a thousand others, to make this kind of mistake. We live in interesting times, a period of tremendous flux. What is done as a matter of security in one moment can appear as poor data hygiene or a legal violation in the next. For her campaign, it was important to apologize. For us, it is important to recognize the transitory nature of social norms and patterns of use in information technology. Keeping our eye on the intersections of law and social norms, and maintaining an on-going culture of risk assessment, is what institutional IT policy is all about.
Security (Still) Matters!

Haven’t we already pay a lot of attention and spent a lot of money on security?  Yes, but for a variety of complex reasons, it still matters and is a challenge we must continue to address.  To that end, I would like to copy and post here a message a segment of a message that Kim Milford sent around the EDUCAUSE CIO list about an exciting, upcoming event.

On behalf of the National Tabletop Exercise for Institutions of Higher Education Planning Committee, Mark Bruhn of Indiana University and I are pleased to extend the attached invitation you and your university to participate.  The event will be held Monday-Tuesday, October 26-27, in Indianapolis, immediately before the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference. The timing and location are intentional, to enable participants to attend both events in one trip.  The workshop will include an FBI threat-briefing and a number of other briefings by experts from federal cyber-security groups. The tabletop exercise, drawn from actual incidents in higher education, is targeted to teams that include CIOs and other institutional leaders. 

As most readers know, Kim is the Executive Director of Research and Education Networking – Information Sharing and Analysis Center (REN-ISAC).  Give her a holler if you have questions.  kmilford@IU.EDU

Internet Culture Policy and Law

Finally, a reminder that next week is the 20th annual ICPL Conference at Cornell in Ithaca, New York.  We will be streaming Dipayan Ghosh’s talk live, which occurs Thursday morning at 8:30 Eastern Time, and archiving it for later viewing on the ICPL site.  A Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University, Dipayan works at the White House in the Executive Office of the President, where he collaborates with the nation's senior advisor for technology policy on a wide range of policy issues at the intersection of technology and the American economy.  For more information about the streaming, our speakers or the conference, please go to icpl.cornell.edu.  Together with all of the other stellar speakers AND participants – including IHE’s own Doug Lederman – we are all very much looking forward to this three day event. 



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