Data Privacy

Data privacy, also known as data protection, is the security of personal information (data) that is collected and stored within an organization and the determination of how it is shared.

Types of Data

Public Data

Data intended for general public use. An example is the University’s online directory.

Protected Data

All data which are not legally restricted and which may be accessed, without restriction, by University employees in the performance of official University business. Examples include, but are not limited to business forms, SharePoint sites and class syllabi.

Confidential Data

Confidential data is sensitive information, other than public data, that needs to be protected from unauthorized access (directory information as defined under FERPA, HIPAA or other federal law). Examples include, but are not limited to medical records, financial data, grade and background checks for employment or business related information.

Identity Theft and Personally Identifiable Information

Identity theft is a federal crime in which an impostor obtains some else's Personally Identifiable Information (PII) by false pretenses for personal gain. This stolen information can then be used to access your personal accounts or impersonate you.

PII , as defined in the Maryland Code under State Government Article, §10-1031, is an individual’s first name or first initial and last name, personal mark, or unique biometric or genetic print or image, in combination with one or more of the following data elements:

  • a social security number
  • a driver’s license number, state identification card number, or other individual identification number issued by a unit
  • a passport number or other identification number issued by the United States government
  • a individual taxpayer identification number
  • a financial or other account number, a credit card number, or a debit card number that, in combination with any required security code, access code, or password, would permit access to an individual’s account. 

To learn how TU manages and utilizes this data, read the Data Stewardship Policy on Towson University's Information Technology Policies page.

To learn more about data security and the privacy of your confidential information at TU, read Towson University’s Privacy Statement.


The Office of Information Security (OIS) encourages the campus to explore resources on how to further protect personal data.

  • Own your online presence. When available, set limits in your privacy and security settings on websites and social media.
  • Back it up. Protect your digital info, including photos and music, by making and safely storing an electronic copy.
  • Learn how to recognize spam and phishing.
  • Report phishing. Forward all suspicious emails received through campus accounts to .
  • Use a strong password - and never share it with anyone.
  • Explore resources and tools for better securing your computer, personally identifiable information (PII) and data. 
  • Learn more about data privacy at the National Cyber Security Alliance website.
  • The National Cyber Security Alliance's website, Stay Safe Online, offers information on whom to contact if you think you have been a victim of identity theft.
  • Learn more about data privacy on the Department of Homeland Security's Stop.Think.Connect. website.
  • Review Inova's Identity Theft Services as offered by TU's Office of Human Resources.
  • Get information on how to define and report a cybersecurity incident


Help Prevent Data Breaches at TU 

Identity Finder (PDF) scans your computer or laptop for Personally Identifiable Information (PII). If PII is found, Identify Finder provides a way to remediate it. All TU faculty and staff should perform regular searches (PDF) using this security software.


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