Things to Do During Data Privacy Month

min read

January 28 is Data Privacy Day. Throughout the months of January and February, the EDUCAUSE Cybersecurity Initiative will highlight higher education privacy issues. To learn more, visit StaySafeOnline.

Some things just need to happen every day: enjoying a robust cup of coffee, chatting with a good friend, walking with a happy dog, verifying your privacy settings on social media platforms…well, maybe that last item doesn’t need to happen daily, but it should happen regularly. Thank goodness we practitioners in higher education have a whole month to think about and focus on data privacy issues. If you are new to the higher education privacy practice, or just want some ideas for privacy awareness activities, continue reading.1

The following ideas are offered to ignite your brainstorming about campus activities on Data Privacy Day (or during Data Privacy Month). These ideas are meant to be suitable for all higher education community members (e.g., students, faculty, and staff).

  • Attend a Data Privacy Day event sometime this week, either live or virtually. You can find us on January 25 (3:00–4:00 p.m. ET) for a live Twitter chat moderated by @STOPTHNKCONNECT to discuss good business privacy practices. Follow and tweet with #ChatSTC to join the conversation.
  • Host a privacy-themed movie screening followed by a Q&A session focusing on the privacy issues raised in the film. Some of our favorite privacy movies are:
  • Similarly, you could share some short YouTube videos and host a discussion on the same. These videos are particularly compelling:
  • Invite guests to campus to speak on hot topics in privacy. Topics to consider might be “the surveillance state,” the use of drones, the use of the Internet of Things, and the social and legal evolution of privacy.
  • Do you have too many good privacy speakers near you? Host a half- or full-day event on campus. If you do hold an event, please be sure to notify the National Cyber Security Alliance and they will post it on their list of events.
  • Run a series of pop-ups or brown bags in various locations on campus to discuss privacy issues. One campus offers both lunch-and-learns and brainy-breakfasts. Use these occasions to share information about institutional privacy practices or how to use social media platforms in a privacy-aware manner.
  • Use social media to focus on higher education privacy issues and tag your posts with #PrivacyAware so that others can share them too.

Even with all of these ideas to get you started, you still may be wondering where to begin. Take a look at what Indiana University did for Data Privacy Day 2016. And, don’t forget to share your plans and lessons learned with our EDUCAUSE Privacy Discussion Group!


  1. Continue reading after you have checked your Facebook privacy settings. Seriously, do it right now.
  2. Watch the movie, not the TV show.
  3. There is some debate among the authors of this blog as to whether the 1956 movie is superior to the movie of the same name produced in 1984. Why not screen them both?

Joanna Lyn Grama is director of cybersecurity and IT GRC programs for EDUCAUSE. She checks her social media privacy settings at least quarterly and sometimes more often.

Valerie M. Vogel is senior manager of the cybersecurity program for EDUCAUSE. She is constantly seeking privacy in her small California apartment with a family of four and a dog.

© 2017 Joanna Lyn Grama and Valerie M. Vogel. This EDUCAUSE Review blog is licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0.