Privacy by Design

InAcademia’s customers have consistently found that using InAcademia is more efficient and privacy preserving than other solutions that rely on email domain verification or the sourcing of user data directly from institutions or student unions, for the following reasons:

  • Using email domain verification requires the merchant to maintain an awareness of allowed domains, which is difficult to scale (see more about email verification here).
  • Like all organisations, institutions are committed to complying with applicable data protection regulations;  as such, institutions cannot simply share databases of student records with third parties without understanding more about how the data will be used, and forming agreements with the parties receiving that data. 

InAcademia was designed with data minimisation at the forefront of the technical solution by introducing a lightweight process for use cases where merchants need only a simple validation of academic affiliation.Using InAcademia means there is no need for merchants to request or exchange personally identifiable information, such as names and email addresses, from or with third parties in order to reliably verify the academic affiliation of users. 

InAcademia accesses Institutional student data records using the eduGAIN infrastructure, and the InAcademia service is therefore able to validate the academic affiliation of users that are members of the global eduGAIN interfederation.

  • InAcademia only transmits confirmation or denial of academic affiliation and, in some cases, a single identifier that is pseudonymised, therefore, it keeps the data involved in the transaction to the absolute minimum, and the transfer can only be utilised for the purpose in which it is requested.
  • InAcademia provides information to the user in clear and transparent terms, requesting specific consent for academic affiliation details to be released to the merchant.
  • InAcademia leverages real institutional data, and therefore is as accurate as if the merchant were to have direct access to those records itself.
  • InAcademia does not retain the validation results, but is cost-effective enough for merchants to request a fresh validation of academic affiliation on-demand at any time in the sales, registration or renewals process.
  • Furthermore, InAcademia does not interfere in any way with the transaction between student and merchant, and the content of the shopping basket or nature of the registration process is invisible to the service.

InAcademia was designed by a consortium of national identity federations for the academic field, which means that institutions trust the InAcademia service to protect the privacy of its users.

Customers of InAcademia find that this reduces the risk in operating and maintaining their validation processes, and users can trust that their privacy is being treated with the utmost respect and care.

Find out why InAcademia’s Privacy Preserving processes are important to the student community

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