A number of articles related to privacy, student privacy, data collection, and data mining are posted on this site. If interested, you can do a search using the search box in the right hand column.
The other day, a friend sent a link to me about Privacy Information. This webpage is a treasure trove of information addressing student privacy, student information protection (or lack of), Google and student privacy, spying on little kids, selling personal profiles of children, FERPA, COPPA, loopholes in the law, and much more. With all of the information available about all of this, you would think parents would be concerned and cry foul. Why aren’t they? Are you concerned? If you are, what are you doing about it?
Why has the public, parents included, allowed the state to develop a State Longitudinal Data System? There’s probably a good chance most people don’t even know about it. Washington state is one of 47 states who have accepted grant funds to develop such a data system. The name of the system in Washington is called CEDARS. Washington is one of three states that does not have such a system in place. Many folks in Alabama are rallying to fight a couple of bills to collect data and establish a state longitudinal data system. Why doesn’t Washington have a bill to dismantle the various longitudinal data systems the state maintains on students?
Enough on that. There is a lot of information available about these issues and it is impossible to do justice to them in one article. A good start would be to go to the Privacy Information page mentioned earlier.
A great video can be found on the Privacy Information page. It features Glenn Greewald giving a TED talk on Why Privacy Matters. It is an excellent presentation and is worth taking twenty minutes to watch. You can view the video right here.
I am not going to summarize this presentation for you—you need to watch the video for yourself. I am going to make a few comments about some things Glenn mentioned. There is a surveillance model that can be used to control human behavior. He said, “mass surveillance creates a prison in the mind.” This is an “effective means of fostering compliance with social norms.” (at about the 9 to 10 minute mark). Pay attention to what Glenn says about corrupt people and accusations around the 20 minute mark.
Does privacy matter to you? Does it matter to you that data is being collected on all school children and we don’t know how it might used in the future or who might use it or have access to it?