UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND EASTERN SHORE PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION POLICY
Date: August 2018
The University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) Personally Identifiable Information Policy (“PII Policy”) sets forth the minimum standards for the University Of Maryland Eastern Shore University (“UMES” or the “University”). These standards are cast as practices herein; they represent the set of expectations against which policy compliance will be assessed. Further obligations imposed by law, regulations, contract or other institutional policies also apply.
All members of the UMES community, including without limitation, UMES students, faculty, staff, employees, volunteers and contractors, are required to adhere to this PII Policy.
It is University of Maryland Eastern Shore policy to protect the privacy of personally identifiable information that is within UMES’ control. PII is information that can be used to identify an individual, whether on its own or in combination with other personal or identifying information that is linked or linkable to an individual. PII can be that of current and prospective workforce members, students, alumni, donors, trustees, advisory committee members, vendors, visitors, and payors, among others. Privacy requirements regarding minors may require additional consideration regarding information classification and/or handling.
Federal and state information privacy laws require UMES to protect certain elements of PII, often because of the sensitivity of the data and/or its potential for misuse for fraudulent activities or other forms of identity theft. These laws may require UMES to self-report to the state or federal government and/or provide notice to affected individuals if the security of certain PII is breached.
The following table provides examples of different types of PII:
Examples of PII that may require
Examples of Other Legally Protected
Examples of Other Forms of PII
legal notification of breach
PII that is considered
with the potential for misuse
Social Security numbers
Student Education Records
Date of Birth
Credit card numbers
Grades, Transcripts, Schedules
Financial account information
Partially redacted PII (e.g., last 4
digits of SSN)
financial aid that does not include
Driver’s license numbers
Employee ID numbers
Records of administrative hearing
A given element of PII may be protected under more than one federal or state law or UMES policy. UMES has adopted other information privacy policies governing specific categories of information, as set forth in the next section. The third column above includes PII that is sensitive but may be an appropriate substitute for other legally protected PII elements.
The PII elements below are not necessarily considered private, but combining these elements with other PII may have privacy implications.
Examples of Other PII that may be misused if combined with other PII or aggregated
Student directory information in which the student has not opted out (like that above, but also dates and photos)
UMES Information Privacy Policies
- Student Records -- The University of Maryland Eastern Shore University Policy on Family Educational Rights and Privacy addresses student privacy rights with respect to their education records, as required under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”). The UMES Registrar has primary responsibility for establishing policies and procedures related to compliance with FERPA.
- Electronic Information that is Restricted, Confidential or Internal-Use-Only -- UMES requires protection, in compliance with the UMES information technology policies for electronic information that is categorized as restricted, confidential or internal-use-only.
- Human Subjects Research -- The Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects (the “Common Rule”) contains protections for the privacy of research participants and the confidentiality of their information. Confidentiality and privacy with respect to human subjects research is addressed by the appropriate UMES divisional Institutional Review Board (“IRB”) policies and procedures.
- Identity Theft Prevention Policy -- The U.S. Federal Trade Commission requires organizations that routinely deal with consumer accounts to maintain a policy regarding “red flags” that might indicate consumer identity theft. While these flags may not involve PII, unusual account activity may be an indicatory for detection.
Protection and Handling of PII
The following requirements apply to PII in paper records, electronic records and in oral communications, as well as any aggregation of PII in an electronic format (e.g., databases, webpages, e-mail, spreadsheets, tables and file sharing services Google drive).
- General -- In addition to complying with all applicable legal requirements, UMES further limits the collection, use, disclosure, transmission, storage and/or disposal of PII to that which fulfills the University of Maryland Eastern Shore mission.
- Safeguards -- To protect PII against inappropriate access, use, disclosure, or transmission, UMES requires appropriate administrative, technical and physical safeguards. Divisional and entity leadership is responsible for documenting security controls and safeguards and risk management consistent with the UMES policy. Examples of physical safeguards include storing documents containing PII in secure cabinets or rooms and ensuring that documents containing PII are not left on desks or in other locations that may be visible to individuals not authorized to access the PII.
- Collection – Collection of PII should be done in a way that is consonant with the other provisions of this section (e.g., Minimization). Collected data should be appropriate for the intended authorized use, and collection should be conducted according to best practice and legal requirements for the type and purpose of data collected. Since the collection process itself can potentially lead to unintended PII disclosure, considerations of confidentiality in collection and recording should be explicitly addressed.
- Minimization -- All members of the UMES community (e.g. employees, staff, contractors and volunteers) are responsible for minimizing the use of PII (including redaction of financial account information, use of less sensitive substitutes such as partial SSN and the UMES Unique Identifier) and minimizing aggregations of PII. The risk of unauthorized disclosure of or access to PII increases with the amount of data. All members of the UMES community are responsible for ensuring that the number and scope of physical and electronic copies and repositories of PII are kept to the minimum necessary and only for the time period where a valid business need for the information exists.
- Permitted Use within UMES -- Only individuals within the University who are permitted under law, regulation and UMES policies and have a legitimate "need to know" are authorized to access, use, transmit, handle or receive PII, and that authorization only extends to the specific PII for which the relevant individual has a legitimate “need to know” for the purposes of performing his or her UMES job duties.
- Permitted Disclosure to Third Parties -- UMES may release PII to third parties only as permitted by law/regulation and UMES policy. Third party contractors to whom UMES is disclosing PII must be bound by agreements with appropriate PII safeguarding and use provisions.
- Oral Communications -- Only authorized individuals may engage in oral communications involving PII. Caution is required in all oral communications involving PII, and oral communications involving PII may not take place in any location where the communication may be overheard by an individual not authorized to access the PII.
- Storage of PII -- PII may be stored only as necessary for the University of Maryland Eastern Shore mission and permitted under the UMES policy. Divisional and Departmental leadership is responsible for providing guidelines around where information can be scanned/stored (e.g. in hardcopy, on shared drives, on other media/devices) and how long information may be retained before requiring deletion or destruction). In addition, divisional and entity leadership is responsible for maintaining an up-to-date inventory of stored or maintained documents, files, data bases and data sets containing PII, and their contents; and requiring encryption of PII stored on mobile devices, media or other at-risk devices such as public workstations.
- Transmission of PII -- PII may not be transmitted to external parties outside UMES (e.g. via mail, fax, e-mail, FTP, instant messaging) without appropriate security controls. Generally, such controls include encryption and authentication of recipients (e.g., password protection of files; verifying fax numbers; cover sheets; marking documents as confidential). Great care is to be taken to ensure that e-mails are sent only to intended recipients.
- Disposal -- PII must be destroyed and rendered unreadable prior to disposal. For example, this may include shredding papers or wiping electronic files.
- Training -- Each UMES division, entity and department is responsible for ensuring that its personnel complete appropriate training on the UMES information privacy policies and sign confidentiality agreements to the extent necessary and appropriate, before accessing, using, transmitting, handling or receiving PII.
Enforcement and Exceptions
Each UMES division, entity, and department is responsible for ensuring that its PII handling practices are consistent with the practices described in this PII Policy. This responsibility includes the entire set of activities within enforcement, including surveillance and detection of non-compliance with the Policy, the identification and implementation of individual- and organizational-level corrective actions, and (where appropriate) the imposition of sanctions. As a practical matter, it may be occasionally necessary and appropriate to diverge from these best practices in order to advance the institution’s mission. In such cases, it is the responsibility of the head of the relevant division, entity, or department to ensure that such divergences are approved, documented, and communicated to stakeholders.
Breaches of the Privacy of PII
Known or suspected violations of this policy should be reported promptly. Any incidents that have the potential to damage departmental and/or UMES network operations should be reported immediately. Violators of this policy may be subject to criminal and/or civil penalties and to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
In the event of a known or suspected privacy breach, contact for the University, the Office of the General Counsel, at (410) 651-6102.
Related Laws, Rules and Standards:
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and associated regulations
Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and the FTC’s Information Safeguarding Rule
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and associated regulations
Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) and associated regulations
Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act and the FTC’s “Red Flags” Rule Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act
Maryland Confidentiality of Medical Records Act Maryland Social Security Number Privacy Act Maryland Personal Information Protection Act Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards
Cabinet approval pending. 12/13/18