Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Student Data Privacy

Here's a webinar I'm going to listen to.  Here's some of the troubling words they use to describe the conversation:

- "...COPPA has become yet another hurdle between teachers and connecting students to digital learning opportunities. "

(FYI, COPPA stands for Children's Online Privacy Protection and it's part of the FTC.

- "Can teachers provide consent for students to register for online websites? "

-"May students who are under thirteen years old even use Web 2.0 resources without running afoul of the law?"

I believe there should be a parents bill of rights on student data and one of them should be that, at the beginning of every school year, they get a list of any and all online resources their teachers/principals might access for them.  You should at least know what your child may be signing up for.

I'm just not getting how/why parents are losing the ability to know what their children are doing online while at school.


Registration Required
October 29, 2014
2:00 pm – 2:45 pm EDT
An Educator’s Guide to COPPA: Connecting Students to the Internet
Panelists
Tom Murray, State and District Digital Learning Director, Alliance for Excellent Education
Mark Cheramie Walz, Attorney, Pennsylvania Education Law Firm of Sweet, Stevens, Katz, and Williams
Please join the Alliance for Excellent Education for another webinar in its Project 24 leadership series. Project 24 is a systemic planning framework around the effective use of technology and digital learning to achieve the goal of college and career readiness for all students. This webinar will focus on the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1998 to protect the online privacy of children.

More than fifteen years later, as digital learning constitutes a critical component of education both in and out of school, COPPA has become yet another hurdle between teachers and connecting students to digital learning opportunities. What do educators need to know about this law? How can educators and school administrators successfully navigate COPPA to ensure that students are afforded the full benefits of online and blended learning opportunities? Can teachers provide consent for students to register for online websites? May students who are under thirteen years old even use Web 2.0 resources without running afoul of the law? When do school districts assume the duty of COPPA compliance?

During the webinar, Mark Cheramie Walz will give educators straight-forward answers on how to comply with COPPA without sacrificing the potential that digital learning and online resources afford. Tom Murray from the Alliance will moderate the discussion. Mr. Cheramie Walz and Mr. Murray will also address questions submitted by webinar viewers from across the country.

Mark Cheramie Walz is an attorney with the Pennsylvania Education Law Firm of Sweet, Stevens, Katz, and Williams where he specializes in advising school districts on the successful implementation of technology in education. Mr. Cheramie Walz has become a trusted advisor to more than forty school districts and intermediate units across Pennsylvania on all aspects of education technology. 

He is a graduate of the George Washington University. He later earned both a master of public administration degree and law degree from Villanova University. Prior to his current practice, Mr. Cheramie Walz was an assistant district attorney where he specialized in the prosecution of computer crimes and received training and experience in computer and mobile phone forensics.

Register and submit questions for the webinar using the registration form below. After registering, you will receive an email confirmation. Please check your email settings to be sure they are set to receive emails from alliance@all4ed.org.
Please direct questions concerning the webinar to alliance@all4ed.org.
If you are unable to watch the webinar live, an archived version will be available at all4ed.org/webinars usually one or two days after the event airs.

6 comments:

TechyMom said...

COPPA is really out of date. It is based on the idea that 'chat rooms' are dangerous places full of preditors, rather the current situation where video connections over the internet have replaced telephones for a lot of people. Children do need their privacy protected, but they also need to be able to use these technologies for day to day communications.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Then change the law but don't try to work around it.

Anonymous said...

Heard this on NPR this AM re: data breach at Needmytranscript.com.

The personal information of almost 100,000 people seeking their high school transcripts was recently exposed on a Web site that helps students obtain their records.

The site, NeedMyTranscript.com, facilitates requests from all 50 states and covers more than 18,000 high schools around the country, according to its Web site and company chief executive officer. ....full story linked


Personal information of almost 100,000 people exposed through flaw on site for transcripts

-katydid

TechyMom said...

Just to clarify, I don't think they should be working around it. I do understand the frustration with the law. I also think that training teachers on what is and isn't allowed under COPPA is a good idea. The COPPA rules, which disallow a lot of very commonplace usages of communication technology for children under 13, are surprising to a lot of people, especially younger people, who are comfortable with online communication.

Anonymous said...

Children do need their privacy protected, but they also need to be able to use these technologies for day to day communications.

The problem with what you're suggesting is that in most situations today those are mutually exclusive concepts. Few methods of online communication are private anymore, and given that most adults don't even understand how much data is gathered and how it's used, children don't have a chance. Children most certainly do NOT need these technologies, they are perfectly free to pick up a telephone or talk with their peers face-to-face at school. In many ways that's better for kids, socially, but that's another conversation. If what you meant to say is that it makes things more convenient for themselves and for you, that's different, but be honest with yourself about what you're saying.

The COPPA rules, which disallow a lot of very commonplace usages of communication technology for children under 13, are surprising to a lot of people, especially younger people, who are comfortable with online communication.

When you talk about "commonplace usage", are you talking about things like Facebook or Gmail? Because yes, those are very clearly and explicitly forbidden by federal law for children under 13 - for good reason! Why do you think those laws exist? Just because lawmakers are old fuddy duddies? Hardly (though some of them are indeed tech-ignorant fuddy duddies!) The laws exist because children are not capable of understanding the long-term effects of personal data mining. Frankly, few adults understand this either, which is a big part of the problem.

Let's be clear, it's not about the technology, it's about the policies. It's perfectly legal for kids to use some email providers, for example, as long as the providers don't mine the content for personal data. However, for companies like Facebook, Google and many others, their entire business models depend on mining that data, which is why it's illegal for kids to use their services without either lying or getting their parents to jump through serious hoops. Yes, COPPA laws are outdated in some ways, but if anything, they need to be strengthened, not weakened, to prevent data mining of children, and push providers toward other business models. Simply allowing kids to lie about their age on a web form does constitute any real protection, as we see today.

At the end of the day, teachers operate in a privileged environment, and they are given personal information about their students. In confidence, not to give away. They do NOT have any right to hand out ANY of that information to 3rd party organizations without explicit permission from each and every parent, and they cannot be allowed to require children to use those kinds of 3rd party services. There needs to be more education by the district on these issues.

There are security breaches around the world every single day, and more and more of them are now aimed at gathering data on children (one reported right here on the blog today). It's easier for criminals to take advantage of kids' data, because kids often won't check things like credit scores for years, allowing long-term fraud and/or identity theft.

We all need to keep a vigilant watch over our kids' personal data, so they can decide how they want to treat it when they're old enough to at least have a chance at understanding all the ramifications of "living online".

- Also very techy

Mary Hickman said...

very nice post

Online Reputation Management Services