Researchers Struggle to Secure Data in an Insecure Age

Researchers Struggle to Secure Data in an Insecure Age 1

D.L. Anderson for The Chronicle

Daniel Nelson, director of the U. of North Carolina's research-ethics office, says review-board members used to assume wrongly that investigators knew how to keep digital records private.

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close Researchers Struggle to Secure Data in an Insecure Age 1

D.L. Anderson for The Chronicle

Daniel Nelson, director of the U. of North Carolina's research-ethics office, says review-board members used to assume wrongly that investigators knew how to keep digital records private.

Long before Edward Snowden made his revelations about the National Security Agency, even before the popular rise of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill discovered the pain of not securing sensitive data.

Back in 2009, the technical staff of Chapel Hill's medical school discovered spyware on a server housing the medical records of some 180,000 women, participants in a study analyzing mammography results. Though no evidence existed that hackers