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Does Bill Gates have nothing better to do?

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I recently became aware of an initiative by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation to track student information. The merits of such a system could be debated but what cannot be debated is the fact that not one New York City parent was asked, or even told, about this use of their child's data.

Some of you may say that the age of privacy is gone with Social Media, etc being all the rage. This issue has nothing to do with Twitter, Facebook, etc. When I choose to use these services I do so willing and with the knowledge I am giving up some privacy in exchange for use of the service. In the case of the inBloom database I did not consent to having private information about my child used.

As a parent I believe it is my choice as to what my children's data is being used for except for official New York City Board of Education purposes. Obviously the New York City Board of Education has the obligation to use this data to track my children's progress as they move through the grades. Call me a curmudgeon but I have an issue with a government agency freely giving out my children's information to a non-profit or any other type of  entity.

Ah you say "Well it is non-profit. Why make a stink about it?"

Even though it is non-profit that does not preclude them from allowing for-profit companies from obtaining/using the data. They don't even guarantee that it will be secure (It's run by a Rupert Murdoch company - need I say more?)

"Local education officials retain legal control over their students' information. But federal law allows them to share files in their portion of the database with private companies selling educational products and services. (emphasis added) "

"While inBloom pledges to guard the data tightly, its own privacy policy states that it "cannot guarantee the security of the information stored ... or that the information will not be intercepted when it is being transmitted."

Here is what information is being used/collected

Name, address, Social Security number, attendance, test scores, homework completion, career goals, learning disabilities, and even hobbies and attitudes about school.

See screen shots of the data here

I have reached out to my local elected officials. Only time will tell what becomes of this issue. But I am not holding out much hope.

Comments

Gravatar Image1 - Lawyer Up my friend. Your great State of New York already has a law forbidding the use of the SS# without encrypting it among other protective measures.

New York Enacts Social Security Number Protection Law
October 2006
{ Link }

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