Why Google is ignoring Obama’s challenge to sign the Student Privacy Pledge

Jeff Gould by Jeff Gould,
Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Several months ago a group of privacy advocates and education software providers, with prominent support from the Obama administration, overcame their differences and agreed to a Student Privacy Pledge. The 12 commitments of this pledge make for a remarkably strong document that places important limits on how children’s data can be used by commercial firms. It comes at a time when interest and investment in education technology is booming as never before. Among the pledge’s key commitments...

Request for President Obama

Tracy Mitrano, Inside Higher Ed,  Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The oft-quoted "sale of student data to third parties" might sidestep another great offense involving use of education records: profiling. Companies such as Google do not sell the information that it mines; it uses that data for its own core business purposes of targeted marketing, advertising, or other commercial incentives. No doubt, sale of personally identifiable information in the consumer arena is one of the most common and egregious of business practices in the global information economy. Student information is particularly problematic because it violates existing law (FERPA) and because no one can predict to what uses that data will be made in the future of a student's long life. In particular, one could see how sensitive information collected (gender, class, race, ethnicity) could be used down the road for unforeseen purposes. But the main point is this: it is not just sale but the use to which the company doing the mining will make of the data that must be included in the scope of the proposed legislation.

Obama’s privacy and cyber bills are the GOP’s first big test at governing

Brian Fung, Washington Post,  Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Passing the president's initiatives should be relatively straightforward, analysts say. Obama wants Congress to develop a national standard for data breaches, telling companies how quickly they need to disclose a leak of customer data in the event of a hack. He's also proposed a bill that would keep students' electronic data — generated by educational apps and devices — out of the hands of some commercial entities.

White House to Propose Consumer Cybersecurity Measures

Byron Tau, Wall Street Journal,  Monday, January 12, 2015

President Barack Obama will announce a handful of new consumer cybersecurity proposals on Monday, citing the growing threat of identity theft, data breaches and online fraud to Americans.In a speech at the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, Mr. Obama will unveil two legislative proposals designed to protect consumers’ personal and financial information, as well as the privacy ofstudent data collected by schools and corporations. “Recent polls show that nine in 10 Americans feel they have in some way lost control of their personal information—and that can lead to less interaction with technology, less innovation, and a less productive economy,” the White House said in a statement. The proposals, which would outline corporate responsibilities in the event of a data breach and curtail companies’ ability to sell student data or advertise to students, will need a vote from Congress.

At CES, privacy is a growing business

Hayley Tsukayama, Washington Post,  Thursday, January 08, 2015

This is the first year that privacy-focused products have had their own part of the floor, which itself may be taken as evidence that privacy, particularly on mobile devices, is something that everyone should be thinking about.

Right to be forgotten? That’s not Google’s call – data MEP Albrecht

Jennifer Baker, The Register,  Thursday, January 08, 2015

Even though changes to Europe’s data protection laws would not substantially alter the right to deletion or erasure, perhaps Google shouldn’t be making such calls on its own, according to Jan Philipp Albrecht, a leading data protection MEP. Last May, Google was ordered to remove links to “outdated or irrelevant” information about individuals by the European Court of Justice, the so-called right to be forgotten. At the time the decision provoked surprise, in particular since it went contrary to the ECJ’s own advocate general’s opinion.

Google may bring auto insurance shopping service to US

Steven Musil, CNET,  Thursday, January 08, 2015

Google may finally be ready to launch its auto insurance comparison shopping service in the US, according to an industry analyst. A review of state insurance commission filings by Forrester Research analyst Ellen Carney discovered that an entity doing business under the name Google Compare Auto Insurance Services is licensed to do business in more than half the US...

FTC Chairwoman Notes Concerns Raised by Connected Devices

,  Tuesday, January 06, 2015

The head of the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday offered a prescription for protecting consumer data collected by Internet-connected gadgets like wearable fitness trackers and “smart home” devices, previewing themes of a coming report by the agency on Internet privacy and security. She also said that technology companies should be more transparent about the way they use personal data and should simplify their terms of use.

Drones, Privacy: Legislative Issues Reflect Changing Times

Daniela Altimari, The Hartford Courant,  Monday, December 22, 2014

From protecting student privacy from firms seeking to access a burgeoning trove of educational data to regulating smartphone-based car services such as Uber to a bold future of drones and driverless cars, the General Assembly could be asked to craft public policy on concepts that scarcely existed a few years ago.

Amazon's cloud business a harder sell in post-Snowden era

Deepa Seetharaman and Bill Rigby, Reuters,  Friday, December 19, 2014

Since Edward Snowden exposed the vast reach of the U.S. National Security Agency's surveillance programs 18 months ago, government agencies and companies around the world have been evaluating where they keep their most sensitive data. Some larger companies have grown wary of relying too heavily on Amazon's public cloud servers, preferring to store data on their own premises or work with cloud providers that can offer them the option of dedicated servers - the so-called "private cloud" model, technology consultants say. That has opened a door for rivals such as Microsoft Corp , which has won over some companies by giving them more direct oversight of their data in the cloud.