The Top 10: Student Privacy News (July – August 2017)

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The Future of Privacy Forum tracks student privacy news very closely, and shares relevant news stories with our newsletter subscribers.* Approximately every month, we post “The Top 10,” a blog with our top student privacy stories. This blog is cross-posted at www.ferpasherpa.org. 

The Top 10

  1. With the announced elimination of the DACA program yesterday, immigration data and education is on everyone’s mind again.
  2. Research from Leah Figueroa, a data analyst who has worked in higher education for 13 years, that showed that some higher ed institutions are inappropriately (but not illegally) releasing vast amounts of directory information (see her talk at Infosec Southwest titled “FERPA: Only Your Grades Are Safe – OSINT in Higher Education,” but note some of her FERPA/USED info is incorrect).
  3. Ben Herold of EdWeek released a great primer for schools on COPPA (as well as 5 new takeaways from the FTC on COPPA)
  4. Personalized learning continues to be a hot topic (as always, worth noting Monica Bulger’s awesome article on the topic and its privacy implications):
  5. Predictive analytics, algorithm, and AI discussions showed up in a lot of articles this month as well:
  6. Edtech, research, and privacy was also a trend in the past month:
  7. GDPR has been coming up in education news. In K-12, this included “Preparing for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – 10 Steps for Schools [in the UK]” via Harrison Clark Rickerbys Solicitors; and “There Will be Blood – GDPR and EdTech,” via Eylan Ezekiel. EDUCAUSE covered it for higher ed in “GDPR: A Data Regulation to Watch.”
  8. “The International Working Group on Data Protection in Telecommunications has adopted new recommendations to improve privacy and security standards for e-learning platforms,” via EPIC.
  9. Many articles raised (or should have raised) important student surveillance questions: “Flagler School District Enters Brave New World of Student Computer Controls and Surveillance,” via FlaglerLive; “NY schools to use vaping, bullying detectors,” via Fox5NY; “Student suicide prevention body in talks with Google and Facebook to help at-risk Hongkongers,” via South China Morning Post; “How schools are tracking students using their mobile phones,” via The Age; and “Alief ISD rolls out GPS technology to keeps students safe,” via Click2Houston. It may be worth reading my previous report on surveillance and privacy for those interested in the costs and benefits of surveillance technologies in schools (as well as practical steps to regulate them).
  10. Security issues continuously came up this past month:

Image: “Drawing competition for school kids” by Simply CVR  is licensed under CC BY 2.0.