Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Lawsuit filed today in NY State Court to block inBloom and protect student privacy



UPDATE:  we filed an Amended petition on Nov. 22. The date in court is now Jan. 10.

This morning, the law firm Pitta and Giblin LLP sued Commissioner King and the Board of Regents in NY State Supreme Court on behalf of twelve NYC parents, and asked for a restraining order to stop the unnecessary, unprecedented and illegal disclosure of the personal information of millions of New York State’s public school students to a corporation called inBloom Inc.  In turn, the purpose of inBloom is to provide this information to for-profit vendors, so they can data-mine and develop their software products.
Our press release is here and below, along with links to the legal briefs. The lawsuit contends that these disclosures violate the Personal Privacy Protection Law, a New York law passed in 1984, that forbids any state agency from sharing personally identifiable information with third parties without consent, unless it is necessary and authorized by law.
As I said to the Daily News, parents have been asking for a year now how and when they would be able to protect their kids’ privacy. I’m hoping this is the beginning of the end of inBloom in New York State.   

Hearings are scheduled in Albany on December 6.  If you want to stay updated, be sure to sign up for our newsletter on our website.

For immediate release
Wednesday, Nov.13, 2013
For more information contact: Leonie Haimson, leonie@classsizematters.org; 917-435-9329

LAWSUIT FILED IN NY STATE COURT TO PROTECT STUDENT PRIVACY AND BLOCK INBLOOM

This morning, Wednesday November 13, a lawsuit and a request for a restraining order will be filed in the New York State Supreme Court in Albany against Commissioner of Education John B. King and the Board of Regents, to prevent them from releasing any personal student information to the corporation known as inBloom Inc.  The lawsuit, filed by attorneys at the firm Pitta & Giblin LLP, representing twelve New York City public school parents, is based upon the claim that the disclosure of any child’s personally identifiable data without parental consent violates the Personal Privacy Protection Law, approved by the New York State Legislature in 1984.  The law enjoins any state agency from providing personally identifiable information to third parties without consent, unless this is necessary to operate a program specifically authorized by statute.  The request for a temporary restraining order is here: http://shar.es/8uA17, the memo of law is here: http://shar.es/8uA4a  
InBloom Inc., established by a $100 million dollar grant from the Gates Foundation, was designed as a multi-state data store, to collect and format personal student data and make it available to vendors to help them data mine, develop and market their software learning products.  After protests from parents and privacy experts, seven out of the nine original inBloom states have now pulled out of the project or put their data-sharing plans on hold.  Only New York and Illinois remain involved, and unlike New York, Illinois is allowing districts to decide whether they want to participate.  The information to be shared with inBloom and other vendors will include the names of all public and charter school students, their addresses, phone numbers, emails, grades, test scores, race and economic status, disability and health diagnoses, their attendance and suspension records, and any services they receive.  The data is to be stored on a vulnerable cloud run by Amazon.com, with an operating system built by Wireless Generation, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. 
Leonie Haimson, the Executive Director of Class Size Matters, who has called attention to the state’s data sharing plan, said: “Commissioner King has ignored the protests of thousands of parents who have urged him to drop this plan and begged him to protect their children’s highly sensitive information. They have been joined by a growing chorus of school board members and Superintendents throughout the state who say that his data-sharing plan is not only unnecessary, it poses huge and unprecedented risks. I want to thank President Santos Crespo and the Executive Board of AFCSME Local 372 – NYC Board of Education employees, for supporting this lawsuit and fighting to protect student privacy.  It is intolerable that the state continues to ignore the pleas of parents. We call on Governor Cuomo, who has remained silent, to call for a halt to this unethical and dangerous plan.” 
Karen Sprowal, the mother of a fifth grader in a New York City public school and a petitioner in the lawsuit said, “Ever since I’ve heard about inBloom Inc. I’ve been unable to rest easy.  My son has special needs and I have to partner closely with his school and his doctors to ensure that he receives the services he requires.  Up to now, his confidential records have been protected by his principal, the school’s nurse and psychologist, but now the state intends to provide this highly private information to vendors, without consulting me or asking for my permission.  Any information that is let loose on the internet can never be retrieved, and any breach or misuse of this data could harm his prospects for life, by impairing his ability to be admitted to college or get a good job. Commissioner King’s has shown a dismissive attitude towards the concerns of parents and indifference to the dangers facing my son and more than three million other children enrolled in the state’s public schools.  I pray that the court heeds our concerns and takes action to prevent this unethical and illegal plan.” 
“As a parent of a child with autism, I am appalled by the intention of the New York State Education Department to override my parental rights and bypass my desire to safeguard my child’s sensitive data. Commissioner King’s plan to disclose this data to inBloom and other vendors is akin to my doctor sharing my son’s medical records without my consent.  I trust that the court will uphold my right and the right of all parents to weigh the risks and decide for themselves who should have access to their children’s most personal information,” said Lisa Rudley, one of the founders of the statewide coalition NY State Allies for Public Education and Director of Education Policy for Autism Action.
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33 comments:

Anonymous said...

From a mother of a Special Ed Child residing in Western New York, I thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for initiating this important action!

Lauralee said...

From a mother of a sweet 9 year old daughter, in Central NY. A BIG Thank You!!

Dan McConnell said...

Mr. King,

Start working FOR schools instead of against them.

Karen Edwards said...

Way to GO!!! You have the backing of EVERY Concerned Parent in the State!!!

qgirl65 said...

I have 3 middle school children, one with special needs, i absolutely do not understand why they would need all this information. I have had my childs medical information that i gave freely (stupidly) to the district in the past and it was misused. I cant even imagine what they would do if i voluntarily gave them everything Inbloom wants. Thank you for fighting this! It's only right.

Anonymous said...

And so it begins........... The first of the MANY lawsuits that will ultimately bring down the common core. Finally.

rrher said...

From Long Island...... this parents and her 2 middle school children...thank you!
This must be stopped for the future of all children!

Concerned parent in upstate NY said...

Thank you for protecting our children's rights and their privacy. You have the power of truth and common sense on your side!

Anonymous said...

Louisiana is with you New York! Thank you for your efforts to protect all children in this country from predators that seek to harm them in the guise of education.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for starting the ball rolling!

Daniela Elefteriadis said...

Thank you to the parents and lawyers taking on this broken system.

Anonymous said...

On behalf of my three children, I would like to offer a BIG thank you to the parents and lawyers taking on this broken system.

Anonymous said...

As a former IEP student who has gone on to do great things in life thanks to her teachers, I thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you from a parent of two in CNY and as an educator who sees this happening to all children in our district thank you for your action!!!!

Anonymous said...

King needs to go. Enough!

Autism Maven said...

From the mother of two amazing kids with autism, here's to hoping today is the beginning of the end!

Tupper Cooks! said...

Mr. King, do the right thing, and resign immediately.

Anonymous said...

If Bill Gates is funding inBloom and privacy violations to American school children then I think parents need to start investigating Bill Gates. He needs to have his privacy violated to understand how we parents feel. Let's post pictures of his home and post his address for all to see, let's dig into his tax records, let's monitor who goes in and out of his home, let's monitor his kids and their friends as well; let's dig for dirt so Mr. Money Bags, who thinks he can do whatever he wants, understands how we feel about him invading OUR privacy and the privacy of our MINOR children! I stand in solidarity with New York parents in this lawsuit objecting to inBloom student privacy violation.

Nina Seifert Bishop, Colorado

Anonymous said...

A huge thank you for doing this!

Lisa Cohen said...

As a parent of a student who has had support since the age of 2 and is now a beautiful, highly functional middle school student, I have to say thank you for going the distance. This short sighted initiative is going to come back and penalize taxpayers as kids who have had support will not be able to get health insurance because of psych problems they had as children and their opportunities for employment will be decreased. We will be supporting these future adults as they will not be allowed to support themselves.

Dee said...

I hope this accounts for all of NY State! As a parent in Western NY, I am thankful for the progress being made to protect my children's information. It does note that it is a number of districts in NYC, I would like them to expand it to include all of NY.

Anonymous said...

Is there a petition somewhere that we can sign?

Anonymous said...

Commissioner King and his deceitful cronies including the Syracuse City Schools Superintendent are so incompetent. I wonder if their is some financial nepotism or compensation for their decisions. My kids will not be taking be taking these ridiculous tests this year.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for getting the ball rolling! My daughter is in 5th grade in Gloversville NY. WE BOTH say thank you!!

Anonymous said...

On behalf of my Husband and 2 once school loving children,......THANK YOU. ... Common Core shall be no more.....OUR KIDS ARE NOT COMMON.

caryl said...

We must make this madness stop!!! Mother of two children with ADHD/LD -- thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking action!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for supporting a student's right to privacy! We need to fight for our rights - whatever happened to the FERPA Law? If inBloom is allowed, what will the government be able to do with citizens' information next? Keep fighting!

Anonymous said...

Thank you!!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for standing up for defenseless children!

hasnain raza said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Who owns King?