Svetla Sytch, the recently named assistant director of privacy and IT policy for U-M, brings a unique perspective on privacy and its role in higher education. “When I was growing up in communist Bulgaria, privacy was not a thing. Come to think of it, we did not even have a word for it,” she wrote recently in an article for EDUCAUSE Review. “Everyone knew about the government surveillance, and we adjusted our lives accordingly.”
According to Sytch, privacy officers at higher education institutions can go beyond data protection legal requirements and provide privacy management education and tools to their campus constituents. As a result, they empower others to demand more privacy protection from the world outside academia.
“The mission of such institutions is to educate and challenge in service to society,” she writes. “This mission is in direct opposition to the repressive environment and conditioned behaviors I experienced years ago in another life. “