Saturday, January 25, 2014

Student Privacy and Cloud Computing

Last month The Fordham Law Archive of Scholarship and History (FLASH) released a lengthy study entitled "Privacy and Cloud Computing in Public Schools."  Many parents believe their right to be consulted about and to give permission for the release of personally identifiable information about their children have been trod upon by NYS public schools in their agreements with 3rd-party vendors who are gathering vast amounts of student information.

The Fordham legal team presents their goals as follows:
  1. To provide a national picture of cloud computing in public school
  2. To assess how public schools address their statutory obligations
  3. To make recommendations based on the findings to improve the protection of student privacy in the context of cloud computing. 
Some of their key findings, noted below, are alarming.
  • 95% of school districts rely on cloud services
  • Cloud services are poorly understood, non-transparent, and weakly governed.
  • Districts frequently surrender control of student information when using cloud services. For instance, fewer than 7% of the contracts restrict the sale or marketing of student information by vendors.
  • An overwhelming majority of cloud service contracts DO NOT address parental notice, consent, or access to student information.
  • School district cloud service agreements generally do not provide for data security and even allow vendors to retain student information in perpetuity...
More valuable information from the study will in be included in future postings.

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