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    Associated Press: New student database draws praise, privacy fears

    The Associated Press reports on privacy questions surrounding a proposal for a student database in Indiana:

    INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana’s plans to create a database filled with every state student’s achievement test scores, college degrees and job histories is raising concerns from some parents and privacy experts, who fear the data could be stolen or misused.

    A law passed in March calls for the Indiana Network of Knowledge, or INK, to track students from elementary school through college and into the workforce. The database will allow state officials to identify job and education trends so they can tailor the education system to better meet employers’ needs and help close the skills gap. […]

    The database will link information from the Department of Education, Commission for Higher Education and the Department of Workforce Development. Officials also will try to persuade employers to share job and salary histories.

    State officials say great care will be taken to remove student names and other identifying information. INK will develop a data security and safeguarding plan, as well as procedures for protecting the data in case of a breach. […]

    Still, some privacy experts and parents question how well the data will be protected.

    Fred H. Cate, director of the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research at the IU Mauer School of Law in Bloomington, said he worries that the database could be used for unadvertised purposes. Those could include tracking down students with unpaid loans or those who might be involved in terrorist activities.

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