Data Privacy

Data privacy is the protection of personal information, which is collected, processed and stored for business and academic use.

Data privacy and protection standards at Towson University require that every employee takes appropriate measures to safeguard the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data throughout its lifecycle, from creation to destruction.

Classifications of Data

Towson University categorizes data into three types (Public, Protected, and Confidential) to provide guidance on the proper handling of that 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 (data as defined under FERPAHIPAA, PCI or other federal law). Examples include, but are not limited to medical records, financial data, credit card payment data, grades, background checks for employment or business related information, and Personally Identifiable Information (PII).

PII , as defined in the Maryland Code under State Government Article, §10-1301, 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. 


Data Use Standards

Requirements for handling and protecting all of the University's institutional data are described in the Data Use Standards (PDF).

Watch this video to learn more about handling confidential data at TU:



To learn more about how TU manages and utilizes data and to view data-related policies, visit the University's Information Technology Policies webpage, and review roles and responsibilities as applied to Data Governance.

identity finder and other tools

  • Spirion Identity Finder scans your computer or laptop for Personally Identifiable Information (PII). If PII is found, Spirion Identity Finder provides a way to remediate it. TU faculty and staff computers may be automatically performing regular searches (PDF) using this security software, so don't be alarmed if you see alerts. Contact the OTS Faculty/Staff Help Center at 410-704-5151 with any questions or issues.
  • Access resources and instructions for helping to protect university data, your computer, and PII on the Information Security Tools webpage.
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