Ten Guiding Principles for Data Collection, Storage, Sharing, and Use to Ensure Security and Confidentiality

  1. Public health data should be acquired, used, disclosed, and stored for legitimate public health purposes.
  2. Programs should collect the minimum amount of personally identifiable information necessary to conduct public health activities.
  3. Programs should have strong policies to protect the privacy and security of personally identifiable data.
  4. Data collection and use policies should reflect respect for the rights of individuals and community groups and minimize undue burden.
  5. Programs should have policies and procedures to ensure the quality of any data they collect or use.
  6. Programs have the obligation to use and disseminate summary data to relevant stakeholders in a timely manner.
  7. Programs should share data for legitimate public health purposes and may establish data-use agreements to facilitate sharing data in a timely manner.
  8. Public health data should be maintained in a secure environment and transmitted through secure methods.
  9. Minimize the number of persons and entities granted access to identifiable data.
  10. Program officials should be active, responsible stewards of public health data.

Adapted from Lee, LM, Gostin, LO. Ethical collection, storage, and use of public health data: a proposal for national privacy protection. JAMA 2009; 302:82-84.

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Page last reviewed: March 5, 2014