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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Hi, I am an international PhD student and I am concerned

Resolved Question:

Hi,
I am an international PhD student and I am concerned with the confidentiality of my data which I shared with my supervisors.
I want to ensure my copyright in writing, to start with an email that has a legal tone.
I think they haven't used the data yet but they might have initiated a research on it.
My research is on sensitive topic and my safety might be at stake if the data is not well protected.
The school is aware of this sensitivity. I was also under the pressure of one of the supervisors to give this data.
Thank you,
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Alex Watts :

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

Alex Watts :

For now so I am clear, you want to research but want to retain copyright?

Alex Watts :

Have you signed enrolment terms and conditions?

Alex Watts :

Does the university accept that you will retain copyright?

Customer:

I havent checked this yet.

Customer:

I have a vague idea that I might have to give the university the data

Customer:

but I am not sure

Alex Watts :

Yes you need to check the terms, but usually you do

Alex Watts :

It would be highly unusual for you to retain copyright on the work

Alex Watts :

So you need to check, as it is likely that you assign copyright by studying there

Alex Watts :

As for your data, clearly if anything is disclosed about you regarding this, that would be a breach of the Data Protection Act

Alex Watts :

They have a duty to keep your details and work safe until it is to be published.

Alex Watts :

But a PhD is generally published

Alex Watts :

If they do breach the Data Protection Act then you can sue for loss and damage under the Act.

Alex Watts :

You can also complain to the Information Commissioner (www.ico.gov.uk) who could investigate and prosecute where necessary

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

Yes, please

Customer:

Are waiting for me to say something

Alex Watts :

Yes :)

Customer:

:)

Alex Watts :

I wondered if I could clarify anything for you?

Alex Watts :

If so what ?!

Alex Watts :

Sadly I can't read your mind, I am not that good!

Alex Watts :

Otherwise I would do the lottery

Customer:

OK..

Alex Watts :

Haha

Customer:

:))))

Customer:

English is not my first language so kindly bear some moments of wonders with me

Alex Watts :

Sure

Customer:

I will ask you now

Customer:

what is the first step to start with to raise this matter..

Alex Watts :

To check your enrolment terms and conditions to see if you own copyright

Customer:

I am still in the process of research and not done and this could be a weakness for me

Alex Watts :

Dont worry your situation is not unique

Customer:

is there a 2nd step you recommend

Alex Watts :

Make sure they realise your work is sensitive and not to be disclosed.

Alex Watts :

This protects your rights under the Data ProtectioN Act

Customer:

Is a regular email a good start

Alex Watts :

Yes

Customer:

I noticed they are avoiding to hear about an incident I had during my fieldwork

Customer:

how to approach this avoidance?

Alex Watts :

Ok.

Alex Watts :

Well unless it was their fault what happened on the field - I can not see how they can be to blame

Alex Watts :

You can always write to the Principal if you are unhappy with the way you have been treated

Customer:

No I am not blaming them ....

Alex Watts :

Ok - then I do not think they have a duty to address it

Alex Watts :

But as I said if there is an issue which is being ignored you can complain to the Principal

Customer:

do you advise me to write the email through a legal expert, a layer or solicitor

Alex Watts :

No email is fine, you do not need a Solicitor or lawyer

Customer:

Do you have any other point that I need to be aware of?

Alex Watts :

No I think that is it.

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything else for you?

Customer:

where can I find this (enrolment terms and conditions)

Alex Watts :

You should have a copy or it will be on their terms and conditions

Customer:

OK

Customer:

Thank you very much :)

Alex Watts :

Happy to help

Alex Watts :

If I could ask you to rate my answer before you go today - the button should be at the bottom of the screen

Alex Watts :

if you need more help please click reply

Customer:

No I am fine, thank you again

Customer:

I will do the rating in a while ... good night

Alex Watts :

Have a good weekend and Happy New Year

Alex Watts :

Thank you, ***** *****

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