Update: so there is definitely something amiss here.
One, the FTC had made ConnectEdu promise NOT to sell off student data assets and yet that appears to be what happened. Only the new company, Graduation Alliance, may have gotten away with it because they seem to have bought the entire ConnectEdu and so got bit just the data but the entire company.
Two, I asked SPS a number of questions but only got this reply:
Thanks (sic) you for bringing this to our attention. We are working with the new company to resolve this quickly and ask them to comply by not selling the information.
Well, I don't think the company is selling the information but they surely bought it up and did NOT return it to the district as was promised. From a thread in June 2014 from KUOW:
After learning that the company
had filed for bankruptcy and was looking to sell, Rahm said the district
tried to end its contract with ConnectEDU and have all student data on
the site deleted.
The company’s lawyers refused, citing bankruptcy protections.
A ConnectEDU attorney has promised Seattle Public Schools that any
as strong as the original.
Still, the FTC said such a sale would
likely be illegal unless the 20 million students nationwide with data on
the ConnectEDU are first notified and allowed to remove their
personally identifiable information from the site.
I think the district either knew that the data had not been returned to the district for the district to destroy OR they didn't know ConnectEdu was sold OR they did know but figured that the new company was offering kids the option to opt out (and that was good enough).
I found this at the Graduation Alliance press page:
Graduation Alliance, which partners with
school districts across the United States to serve at-risk students,
announced on Thursday it has acquired key assets from college and career
planning company ConnectEDU
Kelly said privacy of student data will be a paramount consideration in the transition.
"We’ll be working proactively to give
students who were engaged in ConnectEDU programs the opportunity to
continue to build on those relationships or opt out," he said. "We’ll go
above and beyond to make sure students understand that they have
ownership of their personal information."
The statements below to students, that's "above and beyond?"
No, it's not.
End of update
HS Parent gave this info on another thread:
Did anyone else with a HS student receive this email today from ConnectEDU about a request to purge student's data?
your for using the Connect! service. On July 2nd 2014, the technology
which powers Connect! was purchased by Graduation Alliance from
ConnectEDU. Graduation Alliance is excited to support the excellent
college and career planning resources you've come to expect, and we're
committed to managing your information in accordance with all FERPA,
COPPA and PPRA guidelines.
Per the standard terms and conditions, we
are required to provide all users of Connect! "reasonable notice" as
well as "an opportunity to remove personally identifiable data from the
Requesting your information be removed from Connect! is your
right as a user, however it is important you understand requesting your
information be purged will result in removal and destruction of all data
currently associated with your account. Once purged, you will no longer
have access to your account. Information such as resumes, career
preferences, college recommendations, etc. will no longer be
To request your information be removed from the system,
you will need to visit the following web page and confirm your desire
to expunge your account:
Remove my account
To remain an active user of Connect!, simply do nothing!
behalf of everyone at Graduation Alliance, thank you for using Connect!
We look forward to supporting the college and career planning of all
current and future users.
If it were me, I'd tell my students to take their data off this group. Why?
1) You, as a parent, should look at the website and know the questions your child is being asked before data is given away.
2) If you are satisfied that the questions are few and okay with you, your child can always sign up with this company.
3) Most kids who created a resume likely didn't do it at a website but in class. They probably have a copy and it doesn't matter if it goes away on this site.
4) Send in a note to your child's teacher/teachers saying that you do NOT want your child signing up for anything on-line without you knowing about it and having the ability to review the site before the sign-up takes place. Make sure your child knows this.
I'm sure that this company wants your child to "simply do nothing!"
More food for thought from the Room for Debate section at the NY Times, discussing the issue of student data protection. Unfortunately, the format precludes a longer discussion but it is interesting to contrast what the businesses say versus those trying to protect data.