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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

    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 »

    Government Technology: California Protects Student Data Privacy with Two Bills

    Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

    Government Technology reports on student-privacy legislation in California — SB 1177 (pdf) and AB 1584 (pdf).

    California sent two bills to Gov. Jerry Brown last week that deal with two sides of the same coin. SB 1177 lays out privacy guidelines for operators of Internet websites, online services, online applications and mobile applications. Meanwhile, AB 1584 deals with contracts between local educational agencies and third-party technology vendors.

    These bills address a growing problem of mismanagement of student data. Federal student privacy legislation including FERPA and COPPA do address student data privacy, but educators, privacy advocates, legislators and industry members are split on whether that legislation does enough to protect privacy in the Digital Age we live in. While new federal legislation was introduced in late July, states have been stepping up to deal with the issue, with at least 83 bills in 32 states being considered this year as of April, according to the Data Quality Campaign. [...] Read more »

    Reason: How Kids Find Online Privacy

    Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

    Danah boyd, who researches youth issues at Microsoft, writes at Reason about how kids try to protect their privacy online:

    1. Social steganography. The most common way teens find privacy is not by restricting access to content, but by restricting access to meaning. They encode what they’re posting using in-jokes, song lyrics, pronouns, and references that outsiders won’t recognize.

    Read the full article for other ways kids try to protect their online privacy.

    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.