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Intersection: Sidewalks & Public Space

Chapter by Melissa Ngo

"The Myth of Security Under Camera Surveillance"


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    Archive for the ‘Children’ Category

    InformationWeek: When Big Data & Infants’ Privacy Collide

    Friday, August 29th, 2014

    InformationWeek reports on issues concerning children’s medical and genetic privacy:

    For decades, hospitals have conducted blood tests on newborns, checking babies for various conditions, treatable and not. Today’s less costly tests, genomic research, and technological advances, coupled with differing policies across states, worry some privacy and ethics advocates.

    Whereas some states allow parents to opt-in for testing, others have an opt-out approach. Critics argue parents have little to no say in whether this data is collected, where and how long it’s stored, and what organizations do with this information. Lower genome testing costs sparked debate about researchers’ right to use this information; who should learn of infants’ chronic conditions and when; and the type of data government, researchers, payers, or healthcare providers can cull. Other concerns surround the storage and transmission of data that’s not de-identified and its potential theft. [...]

    In May, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton signed a law allowing the state to indefinitely store blood spots for future research. Parents can opt out. In New York, parents can decline testing for religious reasons, said the Wadsworth Center, NY Department of Health, which screens the state’s newborns for more than 40 inherited metabolic conditions.

    Column at Yahoo Tech: What Are Schools Doing with Your Kids’ Data?

    Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

    At Yahoo Tech, columnist Dan Tynan discusses children’s privacy and how their data is used by schools:

    Every student in every school district generates hundreds of data points each year — from their race and gender to their economic status, behavioral issues, biometric data, health status, and more. This tsunami of data is then absorbed and stored by school districts, state databases, educational service providers, websites, and app makers.

    Of course, schools have been collecting data on students since there have been schools. In the past, though, this information was squirreled away in filing cabinets or just on computers used in district offices. Now it lives in the cloud, and it’s being accessed by non-educators who want to apply the principles of big data analysis to it.

    What could go wrong? Plenty. Potentially damaging information about your child’s medical conditions or behavioral issues could accidentally leak or be exposed by hackers. Private companies could decide to use the information for commercial purposes. Potential employers, insurance companies, or other government agencies may someday lobby to get their hands on this data. [...] Read more »

    FTC Approves iKeepSafe COPPA ‘Safe Harbor’ Oversight Program

    Friday, August 15th, 2014

    The Federal Trade Commission announced that it “has approved the Safe Harbor Program of iKeepSafe, also known as the Internet Keep Safe Coalition, as a safe harbor oversight program under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and the agency’s COPPA Rule.”

    The Commission’s COPPA Rule requires operators of online sites and services directed at children under the age of 13 to provide notice and obtain permission from a child’s parents before collecting personal information from that child. The COPPA safe harbor provision promotes flexibility and efficiency by encouraging industry members and others to develop their own COPPA oversight programs, known as “safe harbor” programs. [...]

    The COPPA law directs the Commission to review proposals to create new oversight programs.  The Commission determined that the iKeepSafe safe harbor program provides “the same or greater protections for children” as those contained in the COPPA Rule; effective mechanisms to assess operators’ compliance; effective incentives for operators’ compliance with the guidelines; and an adequate means for resolving consumer complaints.

    McClatchy: Microsoft Puts Data Privacy on Its Branding Agenda

    Thursday, July 24th, 2014

    McClatchy News Service reports that computing company Microsoft wants the public to know it’s working on data security and privacy:

    As some of its competitors have been battered over their policies for protecting student data, Microsoft Corp. has sought to make sure that the issue—and what it regards as its strong record on privacy—remain firmly in the public eye.

    But as the company moves aggressively to position itself as a protector of student-data privacy, some say it also runs the risk of a backlash if it doesn’t back up its talk with the kind of vigilance the technology giant promises to deliver.

    During the past year, Microsoft has supported academic research on privacy and guides for school officials on the subject. Its executives have also kept a steady presence at public forums urging school districts and policymakers, as well as parents and families, to pay attention to the issue. [...] Read more »

    Consortium for School Networking Issues Privacy Resources for K to 12 Grades

    Thursday, July 10th, 2014

    The Consortium for School Networking has announced the release of privacy resources for school districts:

    CoSN (Consortium for School Networking) today unveiled two freestanding resources to accompany its in-depth, step-by-step privacy toolkit. Designed to help school system leaders navigate the complex federal laws and related issues, the complementary resources include:

    •  “10 Steps Every District Should Take Today”; and

    •  “Security Questions to Ask of an Online Service Provider

    Launched in March through CoSN’s Protecting Privacy in Connected Learning initiative, the existing toolkit addresses compliance with laws such as the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and offers smart practices to better protect student privacy and their data. The security questions for online service providers were included in the v.1 toolkit. [...]

    In the fall, CoSN will expand the toolkit with additional sections covering the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) and the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) – filling out the privacy guide with all four federal privacy laws applied to K-12 education.

    Op-Ed at USA Today: Student privacy should be a priority

    Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

    Former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour writes about student privacy rights in an opinion column for USA Today:

    Debates about the relationship between privacy and personal liberty have come to a head in the past year, with legitimate arguments being made by folks from across the political spectrum. But when it comes to school children, some things should be non-negotiable. Student privacy should be protected, and companies should not be raiding kids’ records to make a buck. [...]

    It seems as if every day there’s a new story about hacking, data breaches, or major online security flaws that put students’ personal information at risk. Read more »