Third Party Services: Legal and Privacy Concerns

Third Party Services: Legal and Privacy Concerns

Many faculty are beginning to experiment with social media, incorporating Facebook, Twitter, and other services into their classes. What are the legal implications of the use of social media in teaching? What should faculty know before trying them out?

Three Major Risks to Consider

Risks exist when university information is stored in tools or cloud services not provided or contracted by IU. Most instructional situations face three major risks.

  1. Critical Information: Information classified as "critical" may not be stored in any third-party tool without the university entering into a contract with the vendor.*
  2. FERPA:  Student records protected by FERPA may not be stored in any third-party tool without the university entering into a contact with the vendor.*
  3. Intellectual Property:  Ensure that any and all content owners grant permission and express appropriate intent before any intellectual property is given away.*
*See Use of Cloud Services in Instruction for more detailed information regarding each of these three risks.

Policy as an Enabler of Student Engagement

"Today's educators are faced with a multitude of tools (e.g., collaborative workspaces, chat rooms, blogs, wikis, and podcast/video sites) that offer new potential for engaging students in learning. When such tools are institutionally provided, instructors can be confident that relevant policy issues have been addressed. But many instructors also want to use third-party hosted tools that are not yet offered by their institution or that are impractical or impossible for the institution to implement or purchase. Institutions struggle with how to appropriately manage the review of these tools for compliance with policy and applicable law concerning data privacy, security, and protection of intellectual property rights, especially given the exploding use of these tools and the typically limited number of knowledgeable staff to conduct reviews."
Educause Review: Attention, Engagement and the Next Generation 

Recorded Presentation

Beth Cate, Associate General Counsel for IU, and Merri Beth Lavagnino, Chief Risk Officer and former Chief Privacy Officer, provide information about the legal and privacy implications of the use of social media in in the classroom.

title slide image from presentation


Lavagnino, M.B. (2010). Policy as an enabler of student engagement. EDUCAUSE Review, Vol. 45, no. 5, 104-105.

IU Chief Privacy Officer Mary Beth Lavagnino discusses what to watch for when faculty want to use innovative 3rd-party tools in instruction.

Cloud Computing Resources

Part of the information Security and Policy site at IU, this site contains comprehensive information about the use of cloud computing resources, including white papers, presentations, and outside resources on the topic.

 Contact Kate Ellis or CITL for more help or information.