College of Science, Engineering & Technology

Why data protection matters in HE

Kudakwashe Maguraushe (Lecturer: Information Technology Department, Catholic University of Zimbabwe) presented a paper entitled "Validation of an information privacy perception instrument at a Zimbabwean university".

On 7 August 2020, Unisa’s School of Computing in the College of Science, Engineering and Technology (CSET) hosted its first Security4U mini-conference chaired by Prof Adele da Veiga. The main purpose of the conference was to address concerns over information privacy amongst students.

Kudakwashe Maguraushe, a lecturer in the Information Technology (IT) Department at the Catholic University of Zimbabwe presented a paper entitled "Validation of an information privacy perception instrument at a Zimbabwean university". His presentation pointed out that personal information differs from country to country. This means that many nations have privacy laws aligned to international privacy principles.

As a Zimbabwean PhD student, Maguraushe’s research focuses on privacy expectations, student privacy awareness and the confidence of students in the ability of universities to uphold privacy values. He noted that practice confidence is an area needing improvement, especially in terms of how to handle consent, privacy education, individual participation and privacy policy. Also, it was discussed that there should be improvement in the university’s privacy practices in creating an environment that favours the upholding of privacy of personal information. "The university should improve and create an environment that instils student confidence regarding privacy."

Dr Jacques Ophoff, a senior lecturer in Cybersecurity at Abertay University in Scotland, presented a paper entitled "Concern for information privacy: A cross-nation study of the United Kingdom and South Africa". He explained that while expectations for privacy in both countries are high, UK respondents are more concerned that online companies are not meeting expectations. There are also gaps in terms of the privacy expectations of respondents compared to the confidence they have in whether organisations are meeting those expectations.

Benson Zenda, a master’s student at Unisa and an employee at the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs in KwaZulu-Natal, focused on "Protection of personal information: An experiment involving data value chains and the use of personal information for marketing purposes in South Africa". The academic work Zenda presented is a culmination of his honours research project supervised by Ruthea Vorster and Da Veiga from the School of Computing.

* By Lesego Ravhudzulo, Journalist, Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2020/08/14