2002-2003 Annual Report

2002-2003 Annual Report


The mission of the Privacy and Confidentiality Roundtable is to provide a forum for the discussion of privacy and confidentiality issues and their legal and ethical implications for archival practice. The P&C RT welcomes all interested members.


While 2002 was a busy year for the Privacy and Confidentiality Roundtable (P&C RT), 2003 is shaping up to be just as busy. The P&C RT has continued its tradition of successfully developing and sponsoring session proposals -- at the 2002 Annual Meeting, five sessions focused on P&C issues while an additional four were accepted by the 2003 Program committee to be presented this coming August in Los Angeles. Another major highlight for the P&C RT was the development and activation of our website, which became "live" on March 24, 2003 thanks to the efforts of Jill Katte and SAA's Brian Doyle.

Activities & Accomplishments

2002 Annual Meeting

  • 2002 Annual Steering Committee Breakfast

The steering committee, P&C RT members and guest Nancy McCall met for breakfast at the Sheraton Birmingham's Atrium Cafe. Privacy and confidentiality issues and roundtable business were discussed.

  • Election of Officers

Julie Herrada, Timothy Pyatt and Anita Weber were elected to the P&C RT Steering Committee. Connell Gallagher, as 2001-2002 Past Chair, was responsible for recruiting Tim, Julie and Anita.

The 2002-2003 Steering Committee includes:

Past Chair: Timothy Murray
Chair: Aimee Felker
Vice Chair/Chair Elect: Timothy Pyatt
Diane Windham Shaw
Cathy Henderson
Julie Herrada
Anita Weber

RT Annual Program

In addition to the annual business meeting and a brief book review of Philip Melanson's Secrecy Wars, the 2002 RT program included a review by Sue Hodson of privacy and confidentiality issues in the news and a spirited panel discussion moderated by Connell Gallagher on "Privacy and Confidentiality Then and Now." Panelists included Menzi Behrnd-Klodt, Mark Greene, Sara S. Hodson, and Nancy McCall.
Sessions Sponsored
The 2002 Annual Meeting in Birmingham featured four sessions proposed by P&C RT members and sponsored by the roundtable. These included:

1. Administering Third-Party Privacy Rights in Manuscript Collections
Timothy D. Murray, Chair, University of Delaware

Julie Herrada, University of Michigan, "Letters to the Unabomber: Third Party Privacy Issues in the Ted Kaczynski Papers"
Stephen Enniss, Emory University, "Public and Private Selves and the Making of the Ted Hughes Archive"
Susan von Salis, Radcliffe Institute, "Serving the Public While Protecting Privacy: The Archivist's Conundrum"

The speakers draw from their experience handling third-party privacy issues while administering personal papers whose contents underscore how volatile this issue is. How do you balance the public's right to know with an individual's right to privacy? The collections include the papers of the British poet Ted Hughes, the papers of the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, and a women's history archive with papers that document, among others, prisoners, private adoptions, pornography, and lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people.

2. Assisting Researchers and Protecting Privacy: Managing Access to Patient Information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

Lisa A. Mix, Chair, University of California, San FranciscoJoanne E. Pollak, Johns Hopkins Medicine, "The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act: Implications for Archivists"
Aimee M. Felker, International Monetary Fund, "Privacy vs. Need-to-Know: Issues in Medical Records Access from Two Perspectives"
Jonathan Schmitz, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, "The Seven Watchmen: Providing Protection and Access to Health Archives in Canada"

The changing medical industry, new technological capabilities, and a shifting regulatory environment are altering the balance between research and privacy/confidentiality issues. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has led to new privacy regulations that have profound implications for archivists whose collections include patient health information. Speakers in this session will present different perspectives on the various competing rights, obligations, and legal regulations archivists must consider when handling access to health care information.

3. Trends and Changes in Privacy and Confidentiality: A Discussion of the Impact of Technology, Law, and Security Concerns in the U.S. and Canada

Menzi L. Behrnd-Klodt, Chair, Pleasant Company / Klodt and Associates
Paul C. Lasewicz, IBM
Bruce Craig, National Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History
Gordon Rabchuk, Royal Bank of Canada

Rapidly changing technology makes invasion of privacy easy. Legislatures and courts react with new privacy protections. Governments and businesses keep secrets, yet share and market personal informational. Multi-nationals face different legal requirements. This panel will review the current state of privacy and confidentiality in American and Canadian law, ethics, technology and the archival implications. The audience is invited to discuss archival practices, specific privacy and access issues, and possible future trends.

4. Finding Our Roots, Respecting Our Ancestors' Privacy: Privacy and Confidentiality Issues in Genealogical Research

Emma Wilmer, Chair, International Monetary Fund
Timothy Salls, New England Historic Genealogical Society, "Another Generation Found: Serving the Genealogist, A Dedicated Genealogical Society's Mission"
Robert Johnson-Lally, Archdiocese of Boston, "Found on the Church Doorstep: Privacy, Sacramental Records and Other Genealogy Sources"
Arlene Schmuland, Utah State Archives, "Genealogical Research & Access to Death, Adoption and Military Records: A Case Study"

Genealogists are the primary research population at many archival repositories. As genealogists search for their roots, professional archivists must balance their rights to access and the need to respect the privacy rights of individuals and their families. This session will explore how archivists serve genealogy researchers' needs while also respecting the privacy of individuals identified in their repositories' holdings and influencing the legislative directives relating to these records.

2003 Annual Meeting

Election of Officers

Timothy Murray, Past Chair, will be recruiting candidates to run for Vice Chair/Chair Elect and Steering Committee (2 positions). Interested prospective candidates should contact Tim at the University of Delaware, Special Collections Library, Newark, DC 19717-5267, Tel: (302) 831-6952, E-mail: tdm@udel.edu

Session Proposals Developed & Accepted

The Roundtable actively develops and sponsors program sessions for the Annual Meetings and has historically had three or more sessions accepted for the program. This year six sessions proposals were developed and four were accepted. The following sessions proposed and endorsed by the Roundtable will be presented at the Los Angeles meeting:

1.  Cultural Sensitivity and Intellectual Property in Anthropological Papers: Ethics and Access

The goal of this session is to provide the audience with a better understanding of cultural sensitivity and intellectual property issues and will focus on anthropological collections, in particular field notes, photographs, and moving images. This session picks up on themes raised at several sessions on ethics and access at the Birmingham meeting.

2. Myth and Reality: Records of the RFK Assassination
2003 marks the 35th anniversary of the assassination of Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy. The 2003 SAA Annual Meeting will be in Los Angeles at a hotel two miles from the Ambassador Hotel in which Kennedy was shot. In addition to the geographic location and historical significance, understanding how and why records relating to RFK's assassination are located on both coasts at the California State Archives and the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth is of great importance to the archival profession so that as archivists we can better understand the historical issues, privacy concerns, jurisdictional responsibilities, and access needs of the records related to national events and prominent persons.

3. To Have But Not to Hold? Institutional vs. Private Ownership of Email Records

University and corporate administrators and employees create and receive thousands of emails from public and private servers every day in the course of business. These records are often outside the review of archivists and unscheduled by records managers with the email authors unclear about content ownership. Access to these official and quasi-official communications are increasingly sought by the media and university litigants with archivists and records managers often serving as mediators. Speakers in this session will discuss their ongoing research on campus and corporate email usage and their experience with public requests for access to email under public records and FOIA laws.

4. Archives Unplugged: Privacy and Confidentiality 101

Just what do we mean by "privacy" and "confidentiality?" What are our legal and ethical obligations as archivists to provide access yet protect the privacy rights of individuals associated with our collections? This seminar, led by two former chairs of the Privacy & Confidentiality Roundtable, will use a combination of lecture and discussion to highlight the challenges of balancing access with privacy and confidentiality in the wide variety of records under our care.

2003 Annual Steering Committee Breakfast

The P&C RT Steering Committee generally meets for breakfast on either Thursday or Friday morning during the SAA Annual Meeting. Any SAA attendee who is interested in becoming active in the P&C RT is welcome to join us! This year's meeting time and place have not yet been selected; pertinent details will be posted on the P&C website or may be obtained by contacting either Aimee Felker or Tim Pyatt as the annual meeting approaches.

2003 RT Annual Program planned

New eyes, old eyes, perhaps even all eyes on the keyhole: Join the Privacy and Confidentiality Roundtable at the SAA Annual Meeting in Los Angeles on Saturday, August 23, 2003 from 8:00-9:30 a.m. to discuss privacy & confidentiality issues in the news, review recent P&C publications, and participate in an in-depth discussion of the unique confidentiality requirements and restrictions placed on military operations and POW debriefings and how they affect your freedom to access this information.

New Accomplishments

Jill Katte and Timothy Pyatt developed the now live P&C RT Web site, which can be found at: http://www.archivists.org/roundtables/privacy/index.asp. In addition to general information about the roundtable, the site includes a web-based bibliography of privacy and confidentiality resources for archivists and librarians. To contribute to the bibliography, please contact: Christopher M. Laico, Archivist, Arthur W. Diamond Law Library, Columbia University Law School, Tel: (212) 854-4786 or by e-mail: claico@law.columbia.edu

Projects in the works

The forthcoming Privacy and Confidentiality Reader, edited by Roundtable members Menzi Behrndt-Klodt and Peter Wosh, will be published by SAA.

For more information about the SAA Privacy and Confidentiality Roundtable, please contact:

Chair (2002-2003):
Aimee M. Felker
National Archives and Records Administration
NWML, Room 2200
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001
Tel: (301) 837-0663

Vice Chair/Chair-Elect (2003-2004):
Timothy D. Pyatt
Duke University Archives
PO Box 90292
341 Perkins Library
Durham, NC 27708
fax: 919/660-5987

Submitted to SAA by Aimee Felker