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    Archive for the ‘Children’ Category

    New York Times: Privacy Concerns for ClassDojo and Other Tracking Apps for Schoolchildren

    Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

    The New York Times reports on privacy questions surrounding apps for tracking students’ behavior in classrooms, such as ClassDojo. The app has addressed one of the concerns listed in the story concerning retention and deletion of the data. The New York Times reports:

    ClassDojo is used by at least one teacher in roughly one out of three schools in the United States, according to its developer. The app is among the innovations to emerge from the estimated $7.9 billion education software market aimed at students from prekindergarten through high school. Although there are similar behavior-tracking programs, they are not as popular as ClassDojo.

    Many teachers say the app helps them automate the task of recording classroom conduct, as well as allowing them to communicate directly with parents.

    But some parents, teachers and privacy law scholars say ClassDojo, along with other unproven technologies that record sensitive information about students, is being adopted without sufficiently considering the ramifications for data privacy and fairness, like where and how the data might eventually be used. [...] Read more »

    FTC Reaches Proposed Settlement With TRUSTe Over Privacy Seal Program

    Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

    The Federal Trade Commission announced that it has reached a proposed settlement with TRUSTe, a provider of privacy certifications for online businesses, over its privacy seal program. TRUSTe faced charges “that it deceived consumers about its recertification program for company’s privacy practices, as well as perpetuated its misrepresentation as a non-profit entity.” The FTC said:

    TRUSTe provides seals to businesses that meet specific requirements for consumer privacy programs that it administers.  TRUSTe seals assure consumers that businesses’ privacy practices are in compliance with specific privacy standards like the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework. [...]

    The FTC’s complaint alleges that from 2006 until January 2013, TRUSTe failed to conduct annual recertifications of companies holding TRUSTe privacy seals in over 1,000 incidences, despite providing information on its website that companies holding TRUSTe Certified Privacy Seals receive recertification every year. [...] Read more »

    Campus Technology: Carnegie Mellon Gives Privacy Grade to Android Apps

    Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

    Campus Technology reports that researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have launched PrivacyGrade, a Web site that reviews mobile apps and how they gather data and affect user privacy:

    Google Maps gets an A. The free version of Angry Birds gets a C. And My ABCs by BabyBus gets a D. The letters assigned to each of these Android apps are grades, and while A is great, D means failure — in privacy, that is.

    Those grades and a million others were assigned through a scanning application that combines automated techniques with crowdsourcing to capture the behavior of an app and measure the gap that exists between how people expect the app to behave and how it actually behaves. [...] Read more »

    Associated Press: California enacts strict student privacy law

    Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

    The Associated Press reports that California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has signed SB1177, a bill concerning student privacy rights:

    SB1177 by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, prohibits companies from using students’ personal information for profit.

    It makes companies responsible for protecting any personal information that they gather from elementary and high school students through websites, online applications and other services.

    The bill requires providers to use the data only for school purposes and bans the sale of students’ personal information to advertisers and third parties.

    Brown also approved a related bill, AB1584, by Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, that says student information collected by outside companies remains the property of school districts.

     

    Washington Post: Maker of StealthGenie, an app used for spying, indicted in Virginia

    Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

    The Washington Post reports that the chief executive of the company that makes a mobile app for spying on individuals has been indicted by federal officials:

    Federal officials have indicted the Pakistani maker of a popular smartphone app designed for spying on a user’s children or romantic partner, the first case of its kind in the burgeoning market for private-sector surveillance software built for iPhones and Android devices.

    The program, called StealthGenie, allows users to monitor nearly all forms of a target’s communications — calls, texts, social media postings — while also tracking the smartphone’s location and secretly activating its microphone to make recordings.

    While similar to technology used by police to track suspects, its use by private individuals allegedly violates federal law. Activists against domestic violence have long expressed concern that surveillance software can lead to attacks on women suspected of infidelity.

    New York Times: With Tech Taking Over in Schools, Worries Rise

    Monday, September 15th, 2014

    The New York Times reports that there are increasing concerns about student privacy nationwide:

    At a New York state elementary school, teachers can use a behavior-monitoring app to compile information on which children have positive attitudes and which act out. In Georgia, some high school cafeterias are using a biometric identification system to let students pay for lunch by scanning the palms of their hands at the checkout line. [...]

    Now California is poised to become the first state to comprehensively restrict how such information is exploited by the growing education technology industry.

    Legislators in the state passed a law last month prohibiting educational sites, apps and cloud services used by schools from selling or disclosing personal information about students from kindergarten through high school; from using the children’s data to market to them; and from compiling dossiers on them. Read more »