Monday, July 13, 2009

Your daily bureaucrat

This could cost me my final ethics clearance for some interviews I have to do to complete my thesis. But I can't resist.

I have received conditional clearance for my project. Amongst other niggles large and small, I was rapped on the knuckles for not using my university email account when communicating with the university ethics board. I expressed a little surprise, given that I was, in effect, voluntarily surrendering my own privacy, but I tried to comply.

Perhaps needless to say, my university email account subsequently crashed like a stone. So I emailed back to explain, as well as to provide clarification (not enough, as it turned out) of other issues raised by the Board.

I shan't print the entire official response I received, but George Orwell would have loved the first paragraph, which I hereby share with my readers:

First, about the need to use your Carleton email account (which I hope my email to the CCS Service Desk will facilitate its functionality): It is advisable from a representational viewpoint, when conducting university business, to use the email from that business entity, and, we, as an institution, have negotiated with the Ontario Privacy Office that we will conduct business from our Carleton email accounts because email is not a secure medium. So, the requirement that a researcher use their Carleton email account is a matter of best business practice on a number of levels.

And there you have it. Whatever "it" is.

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