As reported in an article in the Boston Globe on 14 September, the digital revolution in schools, despites its many advantages, is also raising serious concerns about privacy of student data, prompting demands for tighter legislation on data security.
In the United States, fewer than 7 percent of districts that contract with cloud-service providers restrict the sale or marketing of student information, according to a report by Fordham Law School’s Center on Law and Information Privacy, and 20 percent fail to create policies that govern online services at all, according to the Boston Globe.
These figures are particularly worrying given the vital importance of security in cloud hosting, and all the more so in a field as sensitive as education. It is therefore becoming vital to reconcile digital innovation with data privacy.
Are “chief privacy officers” the answer ?
Choosing the right partners to set up digital solutions in schools is therefore essential in the interests of both education and protecting student data.
“Parents are right to ask, ‘Who holds the information to this website and what are they gathering about my kid?’ ” said Tracy Novick, a mother of three school-age daughters, in the Boston Globe.
In order to address these issues, some districts of Massachusetts, such as Boston and Cambridge, hire chief information officers to monitor the proper use of technology, and state-level measures are also being taken: the State of New York has created a Chief Privacy Officer, whilst Idaho has required the state board of education to submit annual reports on data collected..
If the digital revolution is to be embraced by everyone, complete transparency is required.
Photo: Children at school, by Lucelia Ribeiro, licence CC BY-SA 2.0