Task Force on Privacy

Timothy Grove, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Chris Barton, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio
Grant Bybee, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Randy Collard, Amgen, Seattle, Washington
Ruth Duerr, National Snow and Ice Data Center, Westminster, Colorado
Mark Graff, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Silver Spring, Maryland
Linda Gundersen, United States Geological Survey, Ocean View, Delaware
Malcolm Hughes, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
Jamie Kinney, AWS Scientific Computing, Seattle, Washington
Pui-Yu Ling, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland
Kylara Martin, Naval Research Lab, Stennis Space Center, Mississippi
Figen Mekik, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Stefano Nativi, CNR Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research, Florence, Italy
Glenn Prescott, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas
Erin Robinson, Foundation for Earth Science, Boulder, Colorado
Ursula Ruiz Vera, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Illinois
Carlos Sierra, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany
Marina Stepanova, University of Santiago, Santiago, Chile
Mei Zheng, Peking University, Beijing, China

AGU Staff Partners
Billy Williams, Director, Science


The AGU Task Force on Privacy will work with AGU staff to provide guiding principles and recommend updates to the AGU privacy policy and all related AGU practices. Major components of this work will include privacy considerations in how AGU deploys technology to serve and engage its constituents; the exploration of privacy and security as it relates to AGU’s data policy; intellectual property protection and use of permissions related to dissemination of research in AGU programs; and all aspects of collecting, sharing and use of personal information while ensuring that privacy and data security concerns are addressed. The Task Force will develop principles to guide AGU in the collection, reference and uses of such information, and will recommend updates to the associated AGU privacy policy, last codified in 2002. Rapid technological advances and the growing availability of new tools and the evolution of constituent expectations about individual privacy rights compel AGU to establish, and maintain and adapt up-to-date policies.

The Task Force will research, consider and recommend privacy policy principles for adoption by AGU while taking into account:

  • AGU member feedback on privacy expectations;
  • AGU’s current policies and practices and strategic plan;
  • Operational needs for AGU programs to better serve AGU members and the scientific community;
  • IP rights and protections in sharing of research data and presentations;
  • Recent advances and trends in technological tools and capabilities;
  • Current policies and practices of leading agencies and scientific societies;
  • Best practices in information collection and utilization, and privacy protection from relevant fields and organizations;
  • Statutory norms for collection, maintenance, and use of information, and associated privacy expectations, including differences by sector, region or country;
  • Ways that privacy practices may differ across programs, cultures and geographic regions;
  • Options for establishing levels of permission and approaches to obtaining informed consent.

The adopted principles and updated policy will guide AGU practices related to:

  • Collection and use of data to support participation in meetings and publications and other AGU programs;
  • Intellectual property protection relating to use of photography and session recordings, and sharing of individual research/scholarly work in networking sites (such as Research Gate, Facebook, blogs, etc.) for members, authors and meeting attendees.
  • Use of AGU sponsored websites and social media platforms;
  • Member communications;
  • Access to and disclosure of personally identifiable information; and
  • Data retention and security.

Feedback and AGU’s own internal evaluation from RFID pilot implementation at the 2014 AGU Fall Meeting, and AGU experience with social media and digital platforms will also inform this work. Where appropriate, additional member or other constituent surveys, interviews or other means of obtaining perspectives will also be used. Technological, legal, and privacy policy experts are also to be used and consulted by the task force as needed.

The requested deliverables of this task force are (1) a set of principles related to privacy and data security in the context of new methods and associated technology for sharing data and research—including new methods, tools and technology for forming community and strengthening affiliation and engagement between and among members and other stakeholders; (2) an updated comprehensive AGU privacy policy based on these principles; and (3) specific recommendations related to individual privacy as it applies to the implementation of new technology tools methodologies for use in AGU operations.

Proposed task force composition criteria
The Privacy Policy Task Force will have diverse and representative composition with the expertise to provide perspective required for success:

  • 12-16 members
  • At least 2 members from AGU Council or Board
  • At least 4 members from outside the United States to help assure an international perspective
  • At least 2 early-career scientists
  • At least 2 representatives with knowledge of AGU Meetings, Publications, Membership and digital program strategic needs and plans
  • Formal or ad hoc representative(s) for AGU Affiliation and Engagement
  • Formal or ad hoc representative(s) for technology and digital platform expertise
  • Formal or ad hoc representative(s) for policy expertise and legal concerns

The work of this task force will be completed over a 12-month time period, with an updated AGU Privacy Policy and associated recommendations delivered by 30 June 2016. Preliminary principles and recommendations will be proposed and discussed with the Council and Board for adoption no later than December 2015. We anticipate the committee will meet 4-5 times during the 12- month time period, primarily virtually, but with at least one face-to-face meeting required. The following are general targeted dates:

  • July 2015 – Task force appointment completed and schedule first virtual meeting to review scope and determine work plan
  • August 2015 – December 2015 – Meetings #1 and #2 (one of these anticipated to be in-person)
  • December 2015 – Preliminary principles and recommendations discussed with AGU Council and Board
  • June 2016 – AGU Privacy Policy Update /Final Report and Recommendations

Staff Partners
Billy Williams
Jill Treby (Ad-Hoc)