Tag Archives: edtech

Parents: Two ways to find out what ed tech companies are collecting your child’s personal data

Parents, help fill in this FERPA Project Map for the folks at The Student Data Privacy Project.

https://www.studentdataprivacyproject.com/ferpa-project-map

1. This FERPA Map project

is sponsored by our friends at the The Student Data Privacy ProjectTheir goal is to highlight the need for parents to know how the data for their children is being collected and protected by ed tech apps. Under FERPA, parents have that right but it is rarely being exercised or enforced. They are asking parents in all 50 states to send a letter to their District or school requesting their child’s data that is held by these private companies.  You can click on their website here to request their  FERPA template  letter.  When you send your letter to your district or school, please copy us at info@studentprivacymatters.org  on your request.

2. It’s time we KNOW what data these edtech apps are collecting and how they are being used. 

We at the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy launched our own App Survey in January, for Data Privacy Day 2021. We are researching which edtech apps schools are asking students to use and whether they are sufficiently protective of children’s privacy.  You can take our App Survey here.  

Please let us know what online apps and programs your district or school is using, and check to see if they have been transparent about their privacy policies.  Your name and district will be kept confidential. Thank you to the MANY parents and educators who have already completed this App Survey.  Please continue to share and we will let you know the results soon.  If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email us at info@studentprivacymatters.org  

 

 

For Data Privacy Day — take our Survey: online apps used by districts and their privacy provisions

Today, January 28th is Data Privacy Day, the international annual day of action and awareness to promote the privacy of our personal data.

The Parent Coalition for Student Privacy is researching which ed tech apps schools are asking students to use and whether they are sufficiently protective of children’s privacy.

Since the pandemic hit, school districts across the nation have purchased many commercially-produced online apps and programs to implement remote learning. Even before last spring, districts had been using a large number of programs, many of which have access to personal student information. Many of these apps collect and use personal student data in ways that are not transparent and we do not understand.

More recently, this past December, the FBI, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) warned aboutmalicious cyber actors … targeting kindergarten through twelfth grade (K-12) educational institutions, leading to ransomware attacks, the theft of data, and the disruption of distance learning services.” This follows another warning the FBI put out in 2018 that the use of ed tech apps in schools posed a serious threat to children’s privacy and safety.

Please let us know what online apps and programs your district or school is using, and check to see if they have been transparent about their privacy policies. Your name and district will be kept confidential.

Click here to take the survey.

On Data Privacy Day and every day, it is important to protect children’s information. Below are a few resources to help.

The 2019 State Student Privacy Report Card lists and rates state laws based on Transparency, Parental and Student Rights; Limitations on Commercial Use of Data; Data Security Requirements; and Oversight, Enforcement, and Penalties for Violations. https://studentprivacymatters.org/map/map.html

Federal Laws enabling parents to protect their Children’s Privacy: FERPA, PPRA and COPPA https://studentprivacymatters.org/ferpa_ppra_coppa/ . Read how FERPA was weakened here and how to request to inspect your child’s education record maintained by your school or the state here.

Parent Toolkit for Student Privacy https://www.studentprivacymatters.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Parent-Toolkit-for-Student-Privacy.pdf

Top 10 back to school privacy tips and resources https://studentprivacymatters.org/top-10-back-to-school-student-privacy-tips-and-resources-for-parents/

A Privacy Blueprint for Biden

Privacy And Digital Rights For All

The weakening of The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Covid19 rush to usher in virtual learning and edtech in place of in-person learning, have created a perfect storm for student data collection and tracking. Students are increasingly subjected to edtech data collection, profiling, and surveillance as a condition of attending a public school. We call on the next administration to protect children and begin implementing these important recommendations within the first 100 days of office.

Leading privacy and civil rights advocates recently called on the next U.S. administration to make protecting digital privacy a top priority. The press release signed by Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, Center for Digital Democracy, Color of Change, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, Electronic Privacy Information Center, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, Parent Coalition for Student Privacy, Public Citizen, and U.S. PIRG states:

“The Biden administration and the next Congress should make protecting digital privacy a top priority, and 10 leading privacy, civil rights and consumer organizations today released a memo of recommendations for executive actions on Day One, actions during the first 100 days and legislation.

“The United States is facing an unprecedented privacy and data justice crisis,” the blueprint memo reads. “We live in a world of constant data collection where companies track our every movement, monitor our most intimate and personal relationships, and create detailed, granular profiles on us. Those profiles are shared widely and used to predict and influence our future behaviors, including what we buy and how we vote. We urgently need a new approach to privacy and data protection. The time is now.”

“The U.S. urgently needs a comprehensive baseline federal privacy law. The Biden administration and Congress should not delay in setting out strong rights for internet users, meaningful obligations on businesses, and establishing a U.S. Data Protection Agency with strong enforcement powers,” said Caitriona Fitzgerald, policy director, Electronic Privacy Information Center.

“Privacy is a basic human right, and children’s personal information should not be profiled, licensed, sold, commercialized or shared with third parties as a condition of attending a public school. We hope policymakers will move to prohibit the use of student data for marketing purposes and require all public schools and education agencies to adopt strict security and privacy standards,” said Leonie Haimson, co-chair, Parent Coalition for Student Privacy.

“For far too long, companies have deceptively tracked kids and used their sensitive data to exploit their vulnerabilities and target them with marketing. Families are counting on the Biden administration and the next Congress to recognize that children and teens are vulnerable, and to put protections in place which will allow young people to use the internet more safely,” said David Monahan, campaign manager, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.

The recommendation memo, Privacy and Digital Rights for All, specifically calls for protection of children, teen, and student data, including parent consent before sharing student data:

Action item within the first year: Protect children and teens.

Action 8: Protect Children and Teens from Corporate Surveillance and Exploitative Marketing Practices Recommendations for First 100 Days
•Urge the FTC to begin 6(b) studies on ad tech and ed tech companies’ data practices and their impacts on children and teens before undertaking any rulemaking under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
•Protect students through an executive order that requires the Department of Education (DoE) to:
o Prohibit the selling or licensing of student data;
o Issue recommendations on transparency and governance of algorithms used in education;and
o Minimize data collection on students,ensure parental consent is affirmatively obtained before disclosing student data, and issue rules enabling parents to access and also govern data on their child.
Recommendations for Legislative Action
•Ensure children and teen privacy is legislatively protected as part of a comprehensive baseline federal privacy bill that:
o Establishes the special status of children and teens as vulnerable online users; provides strong limits on collection, use, and disclosure of data, and narrowly defines permissible uses;
o Requires employing privacy policies specific to children’s data on all sites and platforms used by children; and
o Prohibits targeted marketing to children and teens under the age of 18 and profiling them for commercial purposes.
•Strengthen COPPA by raising the covered age to 17 years and under, banning behavioral and targeted ads, banning the use of student data for advertising, and requiring manufacturers and operators of connected devices and software to prominently display a privacy dashboard detailing how information on children and teens is collected, transmitted, retained, used, and protected.
See more recommended principles for protection of children and teens here.

It’s time for the U.S. to take data privacy seriously.  Citizens should have consent and control over collection and use of their data; “pay-for-privacy provisions” and “take-it-or leave it” terms of service should be prohibited.  Finally,  our most vulnerable, our children should be protected, not exploited and surveilled as a condition of attending public school.