Leonie Haimson, one of the nation’s leading champions of student privacy, posted a detailed description of the Summit/Facebook platform, now in use in more than 100 schools (mostly public schools), and soon to be found in your own district or school, whether it is public or private.
Summit is sharing the student personal data with Facebook, Google, Clever and whomever else they please – through an open-ended consent form that they have demanded parents sign. A copy of the consent form is here.
I have never seen such a wholesale demand from any company for personal student data, and can imagine many ways it could be abused. Among other things, Summit/Facebook claims they will have the right to use the personal data “to improve their products and services,” to “conduct surveys, studies” and “perform any other activities requested by the school. ”
The Terms of Service (TOS) limit the right of individuals to sue if they believe their privacy has been invaded:
As the Washington Post article points out, the TOS would force any school or party to the agreement (including teachers) to give up their right to sue in court if they believe their rights or the law has been violated, and limits the dispute to binding arbitration in San Mateo CA – in the midst of Silicon Valley, where Facebook and Google presumably call the shots. This is the same sort of abuse of consumer rights that that banks and credit card companies have included in their TOS and that the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is now trying to ban.
–The CEO of Summit charters, Diane Tavenner, is also the head of the board of the California Charter School Association, which has aggressively tried to get pro-privatization allies elected to California school boards and state office, and has lobbied against any real regulations or oversight to curb charter school abuses in that state.
You will not be surprised to learn that the big money behind this privacy invasion venture is Bill Gates and Laurene Powell Jobs.
In my view and that of many other parents, the explosion of ed tech and the outsourcing of student personal data to private corporations without restriction, like this current Summit/Facebook venture, is as risky for students and teachers as the privatization of public education through charter school expansion. In this case, the risk is multiplied, since the data is going straight into the hands of a powerful charter school CEO – closely linked to Gates, Zuckerberg and Laurene Powell Jobs, among the three wealthiest plutocrats on the planet.
Gates has praised Summit to the skies, has given the chain $11 million, and has made special efforts to get it ensconced in his state of Washington; Zuckerberg is obviously closely entrenched in this initiative, and Laurene Powell Jobs has just granted the chain $10 million to launch a new charter school in Oakland.
Don’t let them data-mine your child.
Get informed. Contact Leonie or other privacy advocates. Leonie’s email address is included in her post.