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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

    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.

    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.