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Monday, November 11, 2019

Stand Up for Student Data Privacy

Don't let the feds do to COPPA what they did to FERPA.  Is your child's information for sale to the highest bidder? I hope not.

Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) is a law created to protect the privacy of children under 13.  
 
From the Missouri Watchdog blog:

The Federal Trade Commission is considering several changes to this law that protects children’s online information.  The FTC is accepting comments from the public, deadline December 9, 2019. 

  • COPPA is a federal law whose mission is to put parents in control over what information is collected from their young child online, but that could change. The FTC is about to weaken this law that protects children.
  • See here (Section E. Question 23 covers the edtech consent exception) Exceptions to Verifiable Parental Consent:
    “Should the Commission consider a specific exception to parental consent for the use of education technology used in the schools? Should this exception have similar requirements to the “school official exception” found in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”)…?”
Let them hear from you and tell the FTC:  
  • Do NOT Weaken COPPA. 
  • Do NOT Give Edtech a Consent Exception.   
  • See Sample letters here, here, here, and here.
With the ever expanding use of computers, online curriculum, apps, videos, social media in the classroom, kids deserve to be protected at school.

20 comments:

Bluegreen said...

Melissa, I greatly appreciate your work to keep parents informed of such matters.

Stuart J said...

The Wall Street Journal has a story just posted about how Google is grabbing health info that is very personal. The full story is behind a paywall, but here's an excerpt, followed by the URL. Keep in mind that Google got this data in secret. But the only way they are able to afford selling Chromebooks so cheap to schools is to productize the data they gather about kids and then sell it. That's where the upside is. And our school districts sign contracts with Google. Do the boards ever read them? Do they know what questions to ask about protecting data? I sure don't know how to read the contracts even if they were available.

Here's the excerpt:

Google is engaged with one of the U.S.’s largest health-care systems on a project to collect and crunch the detailed personal-health information of millions of people across 21 states.

The initiative, code-named “Project Nightingale,” appears to be the biggest effort yet by a Silicon Valley giant to gain a toehold in the health-care industry through the handling of patients’ medical data. Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. are also aggressively pushing into health care, though they haven’t yet struck deals of this scope.
Share Your Thoughts

Do you trust Google with your personal health data? Why or why not? Join the conversation below.

Google began Project Nightingale in secret last year with St. Louis-based Ascension, a Catholic chain of 2,600 hospitals, doctors’ offices and other facilities, with the data sharing accelerating since summer, according to internal documents.

The data involved in the initiative encompasses lab results, doctor diagnoses and hospitalization records, among other categories, and amounts to a complete health history, including patient names and dates of birth.


https://www.wsj.com/articles/google-s-secret-project-nightingale-gathers-personal-health-data-on-millions-of-americans-11573496790?mod=hp_lead_pos1

Techy said...


Don’t miss all the links in the next to last bullet point in the post above.

Please everyone, just take a couple minutes to go and post a comment on the FTC site. EdTech companies want to weaken the few protections children have now. Melissa has links to sample letters above, they have good information, and you don’t even need to give your name if you don’t want. Even if (or especially if) you work in tech you ought to be able to see the problems with removing the existing protections for children, which need to be strengthened!

Just one quick example from one of the links above. Pearson (huge textbook publisher and edtech corporation) has something called aimswebPlus, that includes among other things, BASC-3. If this description doesn’t make your skin crawl, I’m not sure what to say.

The BASC™-3 Behavioral and Emotional Screening System (BESS) offers a quick and reliable method for measuring behavioral and emotional strengths and weaknesses. This comprehensive, digital system offers a benchmark assessment that requires just 2 to 4 minutes per student and 60 to 90 minutes for an entire class.

Because aimswebPlus measures are designed with sensitivity to detect change, the scores reflect progress that can occur over relatively short intervals. Progress monitoring enables more frequent assessment to track individualized goal growth, and documents each student’s response to instructional changes. CBM measures are quick to administer, simple to score, and are regularly delivered to provide continuous student progress data.

This online software tracks your child’s behavioral and emotional state, and it’s designed to be used frequently to build unregulated data sets that allow Pearson to categorize and track how individual childrens’ emotional states change over time due to various environmental and instructional changes. That sounds a lot like Human Subjects Research, which is highly regulated, but I’m sure they’ll fight that categorization to the bitter end.

If EdTech has their way, our district will end up with dozens or hundreds of systems like this that identifiably track your children without your consent.

Please everyone, go comment. Then tell your friends and family, and ask them to tell their friends and family.

Web Hutchins said...

From Ballard High.....................
Thanks so much Melissa for pubbing this crucial information.
Speaking of Big Brother and our kids, I am so embarrassed to report that it seems like more and more schools are not teaching 1984 by Orwell to their students, if Ballard High is any measure of a trend, and hopefully it is not.... At Ballard the old dusty copies of 1984 languish unread - perhaps a few teachers like me will fit them in in a section or two - I can't really do more than excerpts because I teach APLA (rhetoric) which is overwhelmingly based on shorter non-fiction texts so I do teach at least exemplary excerpts of this essential text.....Yet this classic, which gives students such a key foundation in the dystopian prescience of Orwell's vision of our goulish Googlish world today is NOT a required text in our ELA dept., despite my protests....why? Because its "just another dead white male author...." I was told, and this serves as rationale, even as we do require Homer and Shakespeare. And even as hundreds of copies of Hurston's "Their Eyes Were Watching God" and Wright's "Native Son" and "Black Boy" gather dust too, even as we spend 99% of our time talking about racial equity. The dysfunction is profound, the cognitive dissonance louder than a crashing 737 MAX, and the disservice to the youth even worse. Maybe we should make Melissa's blog required reading for students to learn about the 4th Amendment and computer / identity privacy issues!!!

Civics for all kids means keeping them up to date on realtime issues like this one!
Hutch - Web Hutchins, BHS, Civics for All

Melissa Westbrook said...

So Techy,
I have learned that Eric Anderson in Research is using this socio-emotional tracker called Panorama. It's part of the district dashboard that I always assumed was via internal surveys only (and maybe some data from King County's Healthy Youth survey). Apparently not.

https://www.panoramaed.com/

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/serving-5-million-students-panorama-education-raises-16m-to-expand-reach-of-social-emotional-learning-and-increase-college-readiness-in-schools-300550924.html

According to Panorama, schools in Everett are using this.

https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/everett-schools-test-social-and-emotional-learning-to-better-serve-students/281-2a10fcc1-f3d6-423f-a7ea-f92675400df8

I'll have to ask when the district started using it, how long and where, what does the data sharing agreement say, and the cost. Oh and the grade level because the district is already piloting King County's excessive Check Yourself middle school mental health screener.

I will write a more expansive post on socio-emotional work which has the veneer of "let's help the kids" but it is far more insidious than that (and I use that exact word on purpose).

I'm with you Hutch, ditch Homer but keep Orwell. And none of the books from black authors? Hmmm. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Web Hutchins My 10th grade kid at Ballard High is reading 1984, and it was recommended by the fantastic librarian at the school!

BH parent

Anonymous said...

"dissonance louder than a crashing 737 MAX" now that is a ghoulish statement. You do know people died in those accidents.

For some reason the Seattle libs like to paint Boeing in a negative light whenever possible. I guess it's from just a lack of taking economics classes.

So you don't like Boeing, Amazon, google, Microsoft, Facebook. You like PCC and any and all cannabis stores oh and especially bike shops. Did I miss anything?

JS

Melissa Westbrook said...

JS, was that an unfortunate phrase sure? But to extrapolate that liberals all hate major companies in Seattle is weird. You might want to tone that down.

Web Hutchins said...

Dear JS,
re: your unintentionally (?) humorous comment above and query, "Did I miss anything?":

I love Boeing's jobs for folks, though as a "Seattle lib" I do have some serious ethical problems with their 50% plus profits from military industrial products (Ike's term, not mine - I presume you like Ike as much as I do!). Concomitantly,I apologize for the untimely reference and overdrawn comparison to Boeing's intentionally unethical safety compliance collapse at Boeing that led to the MAX debacle and deaths.

I think the only company you "missed" was Starbucks - perhaps we could bike down in our REI locally sourced raingear and meet for a double tall skinny soy machiatto at 71.3 degrees, although they are so dang "liberal" they probably don't serve what you obviously have been "missing" lately - your Corn Flakes!

Carry on!
Hutch

sorry Melissa - I could not help myself!

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