What is sensitive data?
Sensitive data refers to any data that, if released to the public, would have an adverse effect or cause potential harm (for example, an individual's racial or ethnic origin or political opinions, geospatial data related endangered species nesting sites, etc.). Sensitive data would also include confidential material such as data gathered about human subjects. Any research conducted involving human subjects must go through the University of Toronto Research Ethics Board.
Sharing sensitive data
If you have sensitive data, you will face unique data management and dissemination requirements. Sensitive data should be password protected and stored with encryption on a secure server with role-based rights.
The Office of Research and Innovation (University of Toronto) offers the following guidance:
- Policies, Guidelines and Procedures
- Data Security Standards for Personally Identifiable and Other Confidential Data in Research
- Guidelines for Considering Access to Human Participant Research Data
- Guidelines for Research Involving Possible External Pressure to Disclose Participant Data
- Transcriber Confidential Agreement Example (UK Data Archive)
- Best Practices for Protecting Individual Privacy in Conducting Research Data (Information and Privacy Commission of Ontario)
- Data Privacy and Information Security: Research Checklist (University of British Columbia)
- De-identifying your data (Australian National Data Service)