Wednesday, 13 April 2016

American Citizens are taking notice of threats to children`s privacy

"In 2002, the Bush administration started incentivising states to create massive databases of personal student and family information. The Obama administration aided and abetted by a roll-over Congress threw that effort into overdrive. It did so through, among other efforts, the 2009 Stimulus Bill and its Race to the Top grants. And through unauthorised regulatory changes, it stripped away vital privacy protections. (For details see the Pioneer Institute paper Cogs in the Machine.)"

"But now citizens are taking notice and are alarmed at these threats to their children’s privacy. They are pushing back with the same informed activism underlying the movements against non-instructive testing and Common Core. The huge educational-technology-industrial complex is alarmed as well not that children’s privacy is at risk, but that its cash cow may be roped in by data-privacy legislation."

"An early pre-emptive strike was development of the Student Data Principles, a set of `foundational principles for using and safeguarding students’ personal information.` These principles are supported by private organisations such as the Data Quality Campaign and Common Core owner Council of Chief State School Officers, who believe fervently that education can be transformed if we just measure every conceivable aspect of a child and share those measurements with `experts` who can mutter incantations over them and create a 21st-century worker."

"Given the predilections of the creators, it’s not surprising that the principles are specific about the wonderful uses of data but less so about what should be done to secure it. But they create the illusion that these data-mongers share parents’ concerns about privacy..."

"When highly sophisticated software platforms are being used to measure children’s most sensitive psychological attributes and that is exactly what many of these `personalised learning` platforms are doing whether that data is protected from outside snooping is a subordinate problem. The major concern is that a government or a private company considers itself entitled to this information at all, for any reason."

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