EU and Google

Tracy Mitrano, Inside Higher Ed,  Thursday, April 16, 2015

Because this action will likely stretch out for a long time, this blog post is not intended to be definitive on the subject but an introduction. At first blush, there are three main reasons why the E.U. antitrust action against Google is significant to U.S. higher education.

27018 and Higher Education

Tracy Mitrano, Inside Higher Ed,  Monday, April 13, 2015

While many readers may not be familiar with the International Standards Organization, the rigorous formal standards established by this UN-sponsored body form the backbone of data security best practices in large organizations everywhere. Collectively the standards are known as the ISO 27000 family. American colleges and universities in particular, which are busily outsourcing many key online services to outside cloud providers, would do well to pay close attention to the newest member of this family, ISO 27018, which sets out best practices for personally identifiable information (PII) held in the cloud. ISO 27018 is the first international standard for privacy practices. Published in July 2014, the standard warrants the full attention of higher educational institutions as they consider the procurement of cloud services.

FTC to review complaint that YouTube Kids over-advertises to children

Cecilia Kang, The Washington Post,  Tuesday, April 07, 2015

The Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday said it will review complaints by consumer groups that YouTube Kids is a hyper-commercial app with junk food and toy ads flooding the video service. Several consumer advocacy groups filed a complaint with the commission saying YouTube's free app that launched in February contains too many ads that young children can't distinguish from entertainment. On television, federal rules keep advertising to a minimum on children's programs but on the app and others like it, the groups say those rules are disregarded.

Law, Policy and IT: Privacy Shorts

Tracy Mitrano, Inside Higher Ed,  Monday, March 30, 2015

Google watchers have had a lot to look at lately. First, the Wall Street Journal reported that Federal Trade Commission staff in 2012 issued a report that found “Google Inc. used anticompetitive tactics and abused its monopoly power in ways that harmed Internet users and competitors.” To quote the report, according to the WSJ, Google’s “conduct has resulted — and will result — in real harm to consumers and to innovation in the online search and advertising markets.” The Commissioners, under the previous commissioner, Jon Leibowitz, nonetheless voted not to investigate, at least as a result of a countervailing report from the economics bureau that advocated against an investigation. This report includes any number of specific issues: taking content from other sites to augment their own; “placing restrictions on websites that syndicate its search results from also working with rivals,” and “by restricting advertisers’ ability to use data garnered from Google ad campaigns in advertising run on rival platforms.” .

Federal Student-Data-Privacy Bill Delayed Following Criticism

Benjamin Herold, Education Week,  Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Introduction of a bill intended to establish a new level of federal involvement in the protection of K-12 students' privacy has been delayed following criticism that lawmakers fell well short of creating the strong national law for which advocates hoped. On Monday, U.S. Reps. Jared Polis, D-Colo., and Luke Messer, R-Ind., were poised to introduce the "Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act," developed in close consultation with the White House. But after critical press reports and concern from privacy advocates about the scope and rigor of a near-final draft of the bill, the lawmakers decided to hold off. A revised version of the proposed legislation is now expected to be made public later this week.

Boston parents overwhelmingly agree that schools should demand restrictions on data mining from Internet companies

SafeGov,  Monday, March 23, 2015

A survey of parents with school-age children in Boston shows parents see many benefits from in-school internet access, with more than 80 percent stating that in-school internet access helps students develop the necessary skills to gain employment and participate in the global economy. However, a majority of parents are unaware that technology companies may be tracking their children’s internet use at school. This demonstrates the importance of and need for stronger protections to prevent student data mining and online tracking in Boston schools. The findings are based on a survey conducted for SafeGov.org aimed at understanding Boston parents’ views on technology in the classroom and their awareness of student data mining.

A Message from Parents: Advertising and Education Do Not Mix

Jeff Gould by Jeff Gould, SafeGov.org
Monday, March 23, 2015

A new survey by privacy advocate SafeGov of parents in a large American city confirms what most sensible people already believed: parents want corporate-sponsored advertising out of our schools. After spending much of the past two years asking parents in a dozen foreign countries how they feel about online privacy and advertising in their children’s schools, SafeGov decided it was time to do a deep dive on this subject back home in the United States. They looked for a city with a progressive school district committed to bringing technology into the classroom. They chose Boston. The underlying insight of the project is that while the boom in classroom use of Internet apps based on technology originally designed for consumers has been largely beneficial for students, it has also led to a potentially dangerous confusion of business models. The power of Internet apps comes from their ability not only to deliver content quickly and efficiently to vast numbers of users, but also to track how those users interact with the content.

Student Privacy Vs. Police Accountability: The Controversy Of Body Cameras On School Cops

Sara Guaglione, iSchoolGuide,  Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Chad Marlow, the advocacy and policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, said body cameras allow the public to monitor police and hold law enforcement officers accountable, by obtaining and sharing footage through open-records laws. However, Marlow believes there is a difference between a general police officer wearing a body camera in public and a school cop recording students. Bill Vaughn, the chief of police in Johnston, Iowa, where the 6,700-student district's two school resource officers now wear body cameras, believes that the cameras can provide objective evidence for use in criminal proceedings, including those involving students, and could help refute or prove accusations of officer misconduct.

The Landscape of Student Digital Privacy Legislation

Tanya Roscorla, Center for Digital Education,  Tuesday, March 10, 2015

This year, student data privacy is even more popular in legislatures across the country. As of March 6, just over three-quarters of states had introduced 138 bills dealing with student data privacy — a 25 percent increase over last year's bill count. Many of these bills build on the work that states already did in 2014, with legislators looking at both the governance and prohibition side of the issue. "The scope and number of bills really confirms how much of an ongoing conversation this is for states and how addressing privacy is something they'll be thinking about in different ways over the long term," said Rachel Anderson, a senior associate for policy and advocacy at the Data Quality Campaign who crunched the legislative numbers.

Body Cameras on School Police Spark Student Privacy Concerns

Evie Blad, Education Week,  Wednesday, March 04, 2015

As law-enforcement agencies around the country begin using body cameras to monitor police interactions with the public, the chest-mounted recording devices are increasingly making their way into public schools. The use of body cameras in schools has been welcomed by some, but it has also sparked privacy concerns from some districts and civil rights groups. "People tend to be on their best behavior when they know they're being recorded," said Bill Vaughn, the chief of police in Johnston, Iowa, where the 6,700-student district's two school resource officers now wear body cameras.