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January 20, 2006

Columbia University Studies Student Email Patterns

eWeek is reporting a study at Columbia University that analyzed all email sent by Columbia University students for 1 year.  Researchers looked at when email was sent, the conversation trail for that email, and what classes in which the correspondents were enrolled.  According to the article, no content and personal details were seen by researchers.  Names were converted to  consistent but otherwise meaningless text, and the subjects and content of the messages were removed.  Because of these measures Columbia takes the position that the ultimate data is designated as secondary data.  Thus, the University felt it did not have to inform any students of how their email was being handled.

Read more here about how Columbia conducted the study, and the privacy implications beyond the University for this type of practice.

January 20, 2006 | Permalink


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