Five facts U-M's chief IT security officer wants you to know about M+Google
"The university has policies and agreements in place to help ensure that the U-M community can use these new collaborative tools confidently and securely," says Paul Howell, U-M's chief IT security officer.
To address these changes and to clarify the personal and data privacy agreement between the university and Google, Howell offers the following five facts:
1. The @umich space in Google is not the same as the Google commercial space.
The U-M agreement with Google creates a "private space" within Google available only to university users. The "Core Services" — Mail, Calendar, Talk, Docs, Sites, and Contacts — of the university's Google Apps for Education environment (M+Google) are accessible only to U-M designated users. A personal Google account — if a person has one — exists outside this space.
2. The U-M agreement applies only to the M+Google "Core Services."
The university has rolled out a number of Google-provided services; these services are divided between "Core Services" and "Additional Services." Only the Core Services fall under the terms of the university's agreement with Google. This is important, because there are certain privacy protections in the Core Services environment that are not found when using the Additional Services.
3. Use of the M+Google Core Services includes three specific guarantees.
That means that any data or information used within the Additional Services, such as Google+, YouTube, or Picasa, are not protected by U-M's agreement and may be subject to individualized data mining and advertising.
5. Users can limit Google's access to personal information.
The university agreement and existing U-M IT policies ensure a high level of security and privacy within the @umich Google environment. M+Google users may further protect their information through the Google Account Dashboard, including clearing Google Web history and monitoring personal data. Users also may decline Google's Additional Services that do not fall under the university's agreement by emailing 4HELP@umich.edu or calling 734-764-HELP (4357).
"The M+Google environment meets the university's standards for safe computing. But as with many online activities, people may need some guidance to safely use the collaborative tools for teaching and learning," Howell says.