University students, faculty, and staff generate a vast amount of data using university IT systems. System data is collected, maintained, and governed under policies which protect individual privacy.
Researchers have expressed interest in many IT data sets in order to study the “small city” that is the university community. Research projects in the areas of learning analytics, mobility, social research, and others are becoming increasingly more interested in how they might access anonymized data to further their research.
ITS initiated the PrivaScope project in response. A team representing various ITS services and the Reinventing Urban Transportation and Mobility (RITMO) project designed PrivaScope to:
- Enable researchers to ask aggregate questions across multiple data sets in a ethical, privacy-preserving manner. Allow for a privacy and ethics body review to ensure that only appropriate, aggregate questions are asked.
- Allow researchers to ask aggregate questions across multiple data sets while no researcher has direct access to the data sets.
- Enable ITS to support such queries in a scalable, effective manner.