19 Apr / 2017

Online Privacy & FERPA: Do EdTech Vendors know too much?

The Electronic Frontier Federation is “dedicating to defending your rights in the digital world.”  A recent report they have compiled analyzes student privacy (K-12) — or lack thereof — in light of school-provided technology and school-required accounts with various ed-tech vendors.  In the 3-part report, they talk about the laisseInternet Privacyz-faire approach many schools take with regard to student relationships with the outside vendors, they discus the relevant laws and also make recommendations for change.

In light of recent legislation that allows ISPs to sell subscriber data, this becomes an even more interesting question.  A Wisconsin congressman, James Sensenbrenner, recently opined that this shouldn’t be a problem because “Nobody’s got to use the Internet.”  However, if I require my students to sign up with an online provider to view or participate in an educational module they make available, or to use a tool that they supply, they don’t really have a choice… and are probably also quite unaware of the potential consequences.

What do you think?  How can we better protect student’s privacy as we’re required to do by FERPA?  How can we better educate students about their own rights and responsibilities in this matter?

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