Monday, July 15, 2019

NYSED attempts to radically weaken NY Student privacy law to allow for the selling of student data

Here and below is a letter that NYSAPE, Class Size Matters and the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy sent to the Board of Regents last night.  
The Regents were set to discuss newly revised proposed student privacy regulations this morning which considerably weaken the state's student privacy law passed in 2014, NY Education § 2-d , that was approved by the Legislature as a result of the controversy over inBloom.  At that time, the Legislature blocked the state's plan to hand off a a wealth of personal student information to this Gates-funded corporation and also passed a new law modeled on CA legislation , which wisely prohibited the sale and use of personal student data for marketing purposes under any circumstances.  
Instead, the new proposed regulations  posted here would allow for the sale and use of student data for marketing purposes as long as there was “consent” on the part of parents and/or eligible students, by claiming that it would no longer be defined as marketing.  This radical redefinition of the law was made presumably at the behest of College Board and ACT.  
The College Board, which makes millions of dollars from selling student data while claiming that it does not, was recently exposed by the NY Times as selling the information to third parties which in turn sell it to even more unscrupulous organizations to make money off unsuspecting families.  The College Board harvests much of this data off students deceptively before the administration of the PSATs and SATs, without parent knowledge, a practice that we have written about extensively and more recently has been criticized by the US Department of Education.
There are many other problems with these proposed regulations that would further restrict the ability of parents to keep their children's information safe from abuse, as we had pointed out in our comments on the regulations as originally drafted.
In addition, according to the state law, NYSED Chief Privacy Officer is supposed to produce a report each year on the progress made in protecting student privacy, including the results of investigations of breaches and parental complaints.  And yet NYSED officials have refused to provide any such reports, even after being asked for them. 
Here is the agenda of today’s Regents meeting – the early morning session  were live-streamed but unfortunately not the session starting at 10:30 AM where these regulations will discussed.  
The letter was quickly drafted over the weekend because as it points out, we had no advance warning that these regulations were being released until they appeared on the Regents agenda; apologies if there are some grammatical errors.  More soon.

No comments: