Data Sharing for Demographic Research
A data archive for demography and population sciences

Designing a Restricted Data Use Contract

Introduction

Implementing the Contract

Assistance and Consultation

Data Access and Computer Security

In this section, contracts specify the requirements for data security and storage. In addition, it is in this section where you specify who needs to sign the contract to gain access to the data. Contracts that are more restrictive require all individuals (e.g., graduate students, staff) who will have access to the data to sign the contract whereas others require that only the primary investigator do so. In this section, you will find language concerning computer security and requirements.

Least Restrictive

  1. That no persons other than those identified in this agreement, or in amendments subsequent to this agreement, as Investigator or Research Staff, be permitted access to the contents of sensitive data files or any files derived from sensitive data files. The data may not be "loaned" or otherwise conveyed to anyone other than the signatories in this agreement.
  2. Students, graduate or undergraduate, must be identified and sign this agreement if they are to have access to the material specified in this agreement.
  3. Detailed description of how data will be restricted
  4. Location restrictions
    1. Data stored on a Windows computer connected to a network
    2. Data stored on a Macintosh computer connected to a network
    3. Data stored on a Windows server
    4. Data stored on a NetWare 5 or 6 server
    5. Data stored on a Unix or Linux server

Moderately Restrictive (Includes items below plus items in Least Restrictive category)

  1. Detailed account of adherence to data storage and security outlines specified in the contract.
  2. No attempt will be made to link this restricted data with any other dataset, including other datasets provided by <project>, unless specifically identified in the approved research proposal.
  3. Location restrictions
    1. Data stored on a computer connected to a private network

Highly Restrictive (Includes items below plus items in the Least and Moderately Restrictive categories)

  1. Location restrictions
    1. Data stored on a stand-alone computer
    2. Data stored on an external harddrive

Requirements

Least Restrictive

  1. Use of the computer is restricted to project personnel only. In order to use the computer a password must be supplied before access is granted. The password should be a nonsensical combination of numbers and letters. The password should be changed on a regular schedule and never repeated. Storage of the current password should not be in close proximity to the computer.
  2. Password protection on all computers should be activated whenever a data user leaves the office or after five minutes of non-activity.
  3. All files containing data stored in password-protected, encrypted form.
  4. No automated backup copying of the data.
  5. Removable devices holding the data (CDs, diskettes, zip drive disks, etc.) stored in a locked compartment or room when not in use.
  6. Data on removable devices should be stored in password-protected, encrypted files.
  7. Detailed printouts derived from data analysis stored in a locked compartment or room when not in use.
  8. Shred all detailed printouts that are no longer needed.
  9. Note that all files containing restricted data will be destroyed at the end of the project.
  10. No transmittal of data or detailed tabulations via e-mail or e-mail attachment (either over the Internet, an Intranet system, or within a local area network). Data can be transmitted by FTP provided that the data files are password-protected and encrypted and the files are not placed on a public server that is accessible without a password.

Moderately Restrictive (Includes items below plus items in Least Restrictive category)

  1. No storage of the data on laptop computers.
  2. Use of e-mail, e-mail attachment, FTP, or any other means of electronic transfer to transmit only results from regression analyses and aggregate descriptive analyses.

Highly Restrictive (Includes items below plus items in the Least and Moderately Restrictive categories)

  1. Prepare and maintain a log of all data files acquired. Date materials are received, copied, and returned or destroyed should be recorded.
  2. Shred all detailed printouts that are no longer needed. Submit affidavit certifying that all detailed printouts have been destroyed.