Data Privacy Issues Stir Interest

column | Data Privacy

Data Privacy Issues Stir Interest

By Betsy Corcoran (Columnist)     Aug 30, 2015

Data Privacy Issues Stir Interest

States are getting serious about protecting students' privacy, notes The New York Times. The nonprofit Data Quality Campaign reported that 182 bills were introduced in 46 states this year, aiming to protect student data. And of those, 15 states passed 28 laws.

Georgia passed a bill in May, which prohibits selling student personal data or using student data to target ads to students. Using the data to improve teaching-or for companies to improve how their software works--is fine, according to the legislation. (Here's the bill.)

John Albers, a Republican member of the Georgia State Senate, was quoted by the Times, saying: “We want to make sure that companies are not selling the data, using it for targeted marketing to students or using it in any other way that is not their business to use.”

Some parents are nervous about the shadow of data that could follow students, including data on social-emotional issues. Expect more -- including from Harvard University based Technology Science, a newly established online referred site, devoted to "any original material dealing primarily with a social, political, personal, or organizational benefit or adverse consequence of technology."

As the journal asserts:

"Today, there is a common false belief that in order for society to reap the benefits of new technologies, society must choose between innovative benefits or historical protections from harms. How can society enjoy new benefits without harms? Sometimes technology should bend to protect historical norms. Other times, historical norms need to evolve. Who decides? What should the decision be? The primary purpose of Technology Science is to promote these important investigations."

Should be worth reading!

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