Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters in New York City has prepared the following report about threats to the privacy of children, families, and teachers.
She reports as follows:
“The Gates Foundation and Wireless Generation (owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation) have formed something called “Shared Learning Collaborative,” which has now been turned into a new corporation called inBloom, Inc.
This corporation will collect confidential student and teacher data provided by states and districts across the country and will share it with software vendors and other commercial enterprises.
Your child’s data will be used to develop and market products.
Data will be gathered about students and teachers in New York City; Guilford County, North Carolina; Jefferson County, Colorado; Normal, Illinois and Bloomington, Illinois; Everett, Massachusetts; and Louisiana (the entire state).
In phase II, data will be collected in Delaware, Georgia, and Kentucky.
What will be collected and disseminated for marketing purposes?
Personally identifiable information, including student names, grades, test scores, disciplinary and attendance records, and possibly race/ethnicity and disability status.
The records will be stored in an electronic data bank built by Wireless Generation, a subsidiary of News Corporation. News Corporation is owned by Rupert Murdoch and is currently under investigation in Great Britain for hacking into private communications of individuals.
InBlooms Inc. will retain this information and make it available to commercial vendors to help them develop and market “learning products.”
All of this confidential information will be “put on a cloud managed by Amazon.com, with few if any protections against data leakage. inBloom, Inc. has already stated that it “cannot guarantee the security of the information stored…or that the information will not be intercepted when it is being transmitted” to third party vendors.
Haimson makes the following recommendations:
“1. Notify all parents of this impending disclosure, and provide them with the right to consent;
2. Hold public hearings for parents to express their concerns about the plan’s potential to violate our children’s privacy, security, and safety;
3. Explain how families can obtain relief if their children are harmed by improper use or accidental release of this information, including who will be held financially responsible;
4. Affirm that the privacy rights of public school children are respected more than the interests of the Gates Foundation, the Shared Learning Collaborative, News Corporation, inBloom, Inc., or any other company or organization with whom this confidential information may be shared.”
Haimson urges all parents to contact their PTA, their local school board, and their state board of education to protest “this unprecedented violation of the privacy right of children and families.”