NY Parent Lawsuit Against InBloom Dismissed

Data Privacy

NY Parent Lawsuit Against InBloom Dismissed

Feb 10, 2014

POINT TO INBLOOM: Judge Thomas Breslin of the New York Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit filed by twelve NYC parents and guardians to prevent the city's education department from using inBloom to store student data. (Here's our recap of the whole inBloom saga, with multiple perspectives.)

In his decision, Breslin wrote: "Respondents [the NYC Education Department] have met their burden to show that there was a reasonable basis for the decision to enter into the agreement with inBloom and that the disclosure and transfer of data will be for a legitimate purpose." The basis of his ruling touched on the following specific points of contention:

Parental consent: "The agreement with the vendor [inBloom] requires it to maintain confidentiality and to develop the system that will not disclose personal privacy protected information to unauthorized users. Inasmuch as disclosure is authorized by Public Officers Law § 96 subsection (1)(b), permission of the parents is not required." (p. 16)

State vs. local law: In response to petitioners arguing for more local control, Breslin determined that the privacy protections in law at the state level are actually greater than those at the local level--specifically with regards to the Personal Privacy Protection Law. He ruled that there are "more statutory controls on the release of information by the Education Department than for local school districts." (p. 15)

Establishing rules on third-party usage: Regarding concerns that inBloom did not clearly stipulate the rules by which third-party vendors can access student data, the court ruled that inBloom has "shown that an information security policy has been in place since 2002 and that the service agreement was in compliance with this policy." (p. 16)

Security: "The new system can support more security features than that which is currently available in the systems which are being used by local school districts." (p. 17)

In a blog post, Leonie Haimson, parent advocate and founder of Class Size Matters, states:

We will continue fighting for laws, namely A.6059A, passed unanimously by the Assembly last session and now introduced in Senate S.5932, that would put strict limits on the state's ability to share any personal information with third parties, and would prohibit any vendor from redisclosing such information to third parties without parental consent, as inBloom plans to do.
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