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San Diego State University

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Lesson 6: Personally Identifiable Information - Part 2

Overview

This lesson is a continuation of the previous lesson on protecting personally identifiable information. In this lesson, the focus is on being aware of requests for this information. Specifically, the aims will be to identify what information may identify respondents. It also considers ways one may inadvertently request such information.

Lesson Objectives

The lesson addresses the following points:
  1. list types of requests for personally identifiable information
  2. identify where personally identifiable information is inadvertently requested
  3. revise inadvertent requests for personally identifiable information to meet acceptable practices to ensure research meets exempt/expedited review requirements

Lesson Resources

Learning Activities

  1. What information will identify individuals
    1. Ask students to list types of information other than names, email addresses, or ID numbers that one may use to identify an individual.
    2. Have each student put a unique symbol on a page and list the information about themselves that corresponds to the list developed
    3. Using the information, have students try to identify who provided the information.
  2. Protecting identities
    1. Have students read the section of the article from McMasters University beginning on page four.
    2. Have students devise methods to request private information inadvertently.
    3. Distribute the methods to other students and have them revise the methods to avoid the inappropriate requests.

Reflection/Discussion Topics

  1. Why are inadvertent requests for personally identifiable information so difficult to detect?
  2. What approaches might be useful to avoid requests for personally identifiable information.