EDUCAUSE Data Use/Privacy FAQs

EDUCAUSE uses data, analytics, and attendee feedback to improve event experiences and to provide a means through which members can access relevant EDUCAUSE content on a timely basis. We are committed to maintaining your trust by ensuring that your personal data is secure.

We are also committed to clearly articulating, with full transparency, the specifics of all data use associated with EDUCAUSE Profile data and annual conference attendees.


Q: How is EDUCAUSE using the data collected through the member profile form and/or event registration?

A: We recently updated the member profile form on our website to include some additional data points. You may have also noticed that when you registered for this conference, a few optional demographic questions were asked. We collect and use personal data to ensure we provide you with information about news, services, community collaboration, and professional learning opportunities that advance higher education through information technology. Some information related to age, gender, ethnicity, and other demographics is used to help us better understand and respond to the needs of populations that are historically underserved. For example, we aspire to better serve women working in higher education IT, but to do so, we need to be able to track whether women are more or less satisfied with our events, and to do this, we need to ask our members for information on gender. We also retain information about your transactional history and engagements, such as participating in events and webinars, volunteering, presenting at conferences, and downloading publications, to understand how you are using our programs and services use.

We are committed to ensuring that your personal data are secure. In order to prevent unauthorized access or disclosure, we have put in place comprehensive technical and organizational measures (e.g., access control, data classification, restricted access) to safeguard and secure the personal data we process. If, despite all our efforts a data breach does occur, in accordance with state and federal laws, we will inform you about remedial actions that we are undertaking and that you should take. We will always inform the relevant data owners and authorities without undue delay.


Q: What is a beacon?

A: A beacon, in this context, is a small device affixed to an event badge that emits a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) signal. This is the same technology used in smartwatches, fitness devices, smartphones, and other IoT devices. BLE receivers are only located in common spaces in the convention center, and coded data are transferred from a badge beacon to a beacon receiver to the beacon vendor through BLE.

Q: Is this the first time EDUCAUSE is using this technology at an event?

A: This will be our third year using beacon technology at EDUCAUSE events.

Q: How will I know if I have a beacon on my badge?

A: When you pick up your conference badge, the event staff will affix a beacon to your badge if you opted in during the registration process. They will provide you with additional information about the device if you have questions at the time of badge pickup.

Q: When/how did I opt in for a beacon?

A: During conference registration, registrants were provided the following statement and options: “EDUCAUSE would appreciate your involvement in our beacon technology program (associated with your badge) to enhance your meeting experience. Aggregate data is shared with EDUCAUSE staff for planning purposes and with corporate partners/sponsors to see traffic patterns on the exhibit floor (individual data is not shared). If you have any questions about how the data will be used, please contact the EDUCAUSE Membership Team at [email protected].”

  • Yes, EDUCAUSE can use my data to enhance my future conference program.
  • No, I am not interested in participating at this time.

If you selected yes, you will have a beacon added to your badge at the event registration desk.

Q: If I change my mind after registration and want to opt out, what do I do?

A: If you no longer wish to participate in the beacon program, simply go to the registration desk and ask for it to be removed. Event staff will pull up your registration record and select the beacon OPT OUT field. This will redact your data in the beacon database, and you will receive a new badge that does not contain a beacon.

Q: How will EDUCAUSE be using beacon data collected at the 2018 EDUCAUSE Annual Conference?

A: We use beacon data to inform future event programming, assess traffic flow and use of common spaces in the convention center, and enhance the overall conference experience. We allow our exhibitors to see only aggregated beacon data, showing exhibit hall aisle traffic and in-booth traffic to inform booth location, experience, and staffing decisions for future years.

Q: Who has access to my beacon data? Are you selling my information?

A: No personally identifiable information (PII) or individual data is ever shared or sold to exhibitors or any outside party. Neither EDUCAUSE staff nor exhibitors have access to individual beacon data.

Q: I have a number visible on my conference badge. Can someone use this to access beacon data about me?

A: The registration ID visible on your conference badge and the beacon ID number associated with your participant information do not match.Only our beacon vendor has access to your beacon ID number.

Q: Can someone possibly access the beacon data via the devices themselves?

A: No personal attendee information is stored on beacon devices. Beacon receivers are only located in common spaces in the convention center, and data is transferred from beacon receivers to the beacon vendor via coded message. The entire beacon system is password protected, using complex passwords.

Q: What is the benefit to members and the community of sharing my foot-traffic data via a beacon?

A: EDUCAUSE Annual Conference beacon data will be used to better understand how attendees experience our conference. In the aggregate, we will be able to see traffic patterns, dwell time, room capacity to attendance ratios, etc. These data will not only help inform our physical space design and programming for next year’s annual conference but also translate into being better stewards of your membership dues. We believe that members and our community benefit through event experiences that are informed by past event attendee behavior data, improved stewardship of member dues used to support events, an exhibit hall layout that optimizes attendee interests, and data-informed decisions that support our diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

Q: Will EDUCAUSE make aggregate data and reports from beacon data available to attendees, not just the vendor community, in the future?

A: Possibly, but this is not part of our beacon initiative for the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference. Personalizing the member experience is one of the three strategic priorities in EDUCAUSE’s five-year strategic plan. We are building the analytics infrastructure to provide enhanced personalized experiences to our members in the future. This includes recommending and delivering content, personalizing on-site and postevent experiences, and helping members connect with one another in meaningful ways. When we get to the point where we can execute this level of personalization, we will communicate these benefits to the community, create informed opt-in/opt-out options, and, of course, take the appropriate measures to disclose privacy and security implications.

Q: Who is the vendor providing the EDUCAUSE beacon technology?

A: For the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference we are using eventBit by Experient/Maritz as our beacon vendor. More information about their privacy policy can be found here.

Per our privacy notice, EDUCAUSE only exchanges data with vendors/subprocessors when it is required for our business operation needs.

Q: Are beacons/beacon data covered in EDUCAUSE’s privacy notice?

A: Yes. Our privacy notice covers the collection and use of beacon data to the full extent to which they will be used at this event. We only exchange data with vendors/subprocessors that are required for our business operation needs.

Q: EDUCAUSE’s privacy notice specifically says that individual data is not shared with other vendors (besides the beacon vendor), but aggregate data will be shared with EDUCAUSE staff and exhibitors. What measures are taken to keep vendors from deanonymizing these data?

A: Each beacon transmits a unique number, but no personally identifiable information about the attendee, so there are no data to deanonymize. EDUCAUSE is dedicated to the data privacy and security of our members and event attendees. With regard to privacy, we have opted to disable all features of eventBit that display individual beacon data. True to our privacy notification and the “opt-in beacons” language in our conference registration form, only aggregate data is shared with EDUCAUSE staff (for planning purposes) and with corporate partners/sponsors (to see traffic patterns on the exhibit floor). Individual data is not shared.

Q: How will data be housed, and for how long, with eventBit by Experient/Maritz?

A: Data are stored for 1.5 years. Beacon-read data are stored within Experient’s AWS cloud instances. Experient has utilized AWS security features to the fullest extent to ensure optimal protection. Some registrant data are also copied to the cloud to facilitate timely reporting.

Q: Can I file a data-access request to obtain a copy of my location data obtained while I was at the conference?

A: Yes. Per our privacy notice, upon request, we will provide you with information about whether we hold any of your personal data. You have the right to access the personal data we have about you, and you may request that it be corrected, amended, not processed, or deleted by emailing [email protected] with the subject of “Access Request.” We require all our requests to be in writing.