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Proposed Research Changes Concern Scholars

PRIVACY LAW—U.S.

October 25, 2011

The New York Times reports on concerns submitted by scholars about proposed changes to privacy protections for human research subjects. Wednesday is the deadline for public comments, and tens of thousands of humanities and social science scholars are voicing concern that more robust restrictions will prevent access to "vast collections of publically available information," including census data, market research, oral histories and labor statistics, the report states. One scholar said that the proposed changes "really threaten access to information in a democratic society." The director of the Office for Human Research Protections has tried to assuage concerns by saying that the intent is not to create stronger restrictions on previously public information. "If the technical rules end up doing that," he said, "we'll try to come up with a different result." (Registration may be required to access this story.)
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