I have produced a new short video for the newly-launched education privacy website of SafeGov. The site is called edu.SafeGov.org, and it contains a wonderful array of resources for parents, school officials, and policymakers regarding education privacy issues.
Fordham School of Law’s Center on Law and Information Policy (CLIP), headed by Joel Reidenberg, has released an eye-opening and sobering study of how public schools are handling privacy issues with regard to cloud computing. The study is called Privacy and Cloud Computing in Public Schools, and it is well worth a read.
In 2007, Seung Cho, a student at Virginia Tech, killed 32 students and faculty and wounded 17. He then committed suicide.
One of the most troublesome things about this incident was that it might have been prevented if school officials and employees had a better grasp of privacy law. Appointed by the state governor, the Virginia Tech Review Panel issued an extensive report revealing that several University officials and employees knew about Cho’s mental instability but failed to share what they knew with each other. And nobody ever told Cho’s parents about his problems, his stalking of a female student, and his dark writings and erratic behavior. Cho’s parents said that if they had known, they would have taken him home and made him go to therapy. This is what they did when Cho had problems in high school.
Increasingly, educational institutions and state entities handling student data are hiring outside companies to perform cloud computing functions related to managing personal information.
The benefits of cloud computing are that outside entities might be more sophisticated at managing personal data. These entities may be able to manage data more inexpensively and effectively than the educational institution could do itself. In many cases, cloud computing providers can provide better security than the educational institutions can.