FBI Warns of Grave Cyber Security Threat to Students from School Tech

Finally! Although the horse may be long out of the barn, the FBI should nevertheless be commended for issuing this warning about the dangers of education technology and cyber security threats for students and their families: The FBI is encouraging public awareness of cyber threat concerns related to K-12 students. The US school systems’ rapid growth of education technologies (EdTech) and widespread collection of student data could have privacy and safety implications if compromised or exploited. The warning gives a list of many types of data that can maliciously exploited, rightly saying that this is not all-inclusive: personally identifiable information

Students’ Privacy Under Serious Threat in Era of School Shootings

As the number of school shootings increase, social media and mental health data are becoming very hot commodities. The federal School Safety Commission talked about how data sharing can be improved to prevent school violence at both of its July 11th and July 26th meetings. The trend in both meetings was to see the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) as creating a barrier to sharing information that could have prevented tragedies like the Parkland shooting. For example, as described in Education Week coverage of the July 26th meeting: Clarence Cox III, the president of the National Organization of

6 Key Takeaways from Congress’ Hearing on Protecting Student Data

Yesterday, the U.S. House Education and Workforce Committee held a hearing titled, “Protecting Privacy, Promoting Data Security: Exploring How Schools and States Keep Data Safe.” Here are some key takeaways: 1.) More leaders are realizing the need to reduce the amount of student data collected. By far, the best witness from a parental rights and pro-privacy perspective was David Couch, Chief Information Officer for the Kentucky Department of Education. A former military cyber security expert, his most cogent remarks had to do with decreasing the amount of data collected: We have put KDE on a “healthy data diet” so that

Privacy Alert: Will China Soon Be Using Big Data to Influence U.S. Students?

This article was originally posted at The Federalist. The recent Facebook controversy focused Americans’ attention on the dangers of uncontrolled access to and use of individual online data. But as a nation we have a notoriously short attention span, which Big Business and Big Data count on to enable business as usual. Beginning with our children’s education data and continuing for the rest of their lives, the sky’s the limit for what can be done when all that glittering data is sifted, stirred, and exploited. Some states have enacted certain protections for students’ online data, but most of these statutes allow sale of

Can Government Access Your Phone Records Anytime? This Case Will Decide.

This article is part of a series focusing on Lens of Liberty, a project of the Vernon K. Krieble Foundation. In her Liberty Minute titled “Big Brother is Watching,” Helen Krieble examines a troubling governmental practice that many Americans would rather choose to ignore: I’m concerned about our own government spying on us. We should all be worried. In today’s high tech world, government has the ability to watch us through our computers, phones, cars, and buses; through traffic and security cameras at airports and on our streets; through heat scanners and drones; through smart utility meters; and in hundreds

Over 100 Grassroots Leaders to Congress: Protect Students’ Privacy!

This week, the American Principles Project, Education Liberty Watch, and Eagle Forum, along with leaders from more than 100 organizations both nationally and in 31 states, called on Congress to rewrite the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). In a letter to the House Education and Workforce Committee, these organizations strongly urged Congress to protect the property interest that citizens have in their personal data and to recognize that it is not the role or right of government to probe a child’s most personal and sensitive attributes. Emmett McGroarty, senior fellow at American Principles Project and co-author of the new book, Deconstructing

Parents Beware: Mental Screening of Students Ramps Up in Texas

While federal, state, and local officials are trying to improve student safety in the wake of the tragic Parkland, Fla., school shooting, the heightened concern over student mental health has greatly increased efforts to screen students for mental health issues. Two programs in Texas exemplify this push — with potentially ominous implications for student health, privacy, and freedom of conscience. The first program from Texas Tech University, was described by Politico as follows: USING TELEMEDICINE TO SCREEN FOR KIDS ‘ABOUT TO BLOW’: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center President Tedd Mitchell shared glowing reviews of a telemedicine-based violence prevention program while

Congress Explodes Deficits, Expands Nanny State with Disastrous Omnibus Bill

Tragically for our children’s futures and freedoms — but predictably, as we warned here and here — Congress heeded very few general principles or President Trump’s good ideas about preserving freedom and privacy, decreasing the federal footprint in education, supporting programs that work, or maintaining fiscal discipline. The House yesterday passed the $1.3 trillion omnibus-spending bill — that will only fund the government for six months — by a vote of 256-197. The Senate followed early this morning with a vote of 65-32. The damage this bill will do the nation’s fiscal health and to issues outside of education is well discussed