Natasha Singer

Federal Efforts in Data Privacy Move Slowly

Location:
The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC, 20500, United States
Recommendation:
2

In February 2012, the White House introduced a blueprint for the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, intended to give Americans the ability to exercise control over what personal details companies collected from them and how the data was used. Four years later, however, the effort has produced few new data controls for consumers, even as advocates say the need is greater than ever because of the advent of Internet-connected technologies that collect data on people’s sleep habits, the temperature in their houses and the like.

Can’t Put Down Your Device? That’s by Design

Location:
USA, United States
Recommendation:
1

Greg Hochmuth was one of the first software engineers hired at Instagram. He worked on a team in 2012 that developed the first Android app for the slick photo-sharing service. In its first 24 hours, the app was downloaded more than one million times. But Hochmuth eventually came to realize that the platform’s pleasing features -- the interface that made it easy for people to upload and share beautiful images, the personalized suggestions of accounts to follow -- also had potential downsides.

With the hiring of Jonathan Mayer, the FCC could soon get tougher on privacy and security

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
3

On Nov 24, the Federal Communications Commission said it had hired Jonathan Mayer as chief technologist in the agency’s enforcement bureau.

Mark Zuckerberg Gives $20 Million to Help Schools Get Faster Internet

Location:
EducationSuperHighway, 1 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA, 94104, United States
Recommendation:
1

Mark Zuckerberg, who has made global Internet access a top priority through Facebook’s Internet.org project, is now using some of his personal wealth to expand high-speed Internet access in the United States.

The Digital Disparities Facing Lower-Income Teenagers

Location:
Common Sense Media, 650 Townsend, San Francisco, CA, 94103, United States
Recommendation:
3

Teenagers in lower-income households have fewer desktop, laptop and tablet computers to use at home than their higher-income peers, according to a new study by Common Cause Media. And those disparities may influence more than how teenagers socialize, entertain themselves and apply for college or jobs.

Tools for Tailored Learning May Expose Students’ Personal Details

Location:
USA, United States
Recommendation:
2

If the efforts by state legislators to restrict the use of student data are any guide, the e-mail addresses and search queries of the nation’s schoolchildren are a hot commodity.

Chromebooks Gaining on iPads in School Sector

Location:
IDC Corporate USA, 5 Speen Street, Framingham, MA, 01701, United States
Recommendation:
1

As school districts across the country increasingly invest in technology for their students, the volume of personal computers in the classroom is surging. And it is Chromebook – notebook computers that run on Google’s Chrome operating system – an upstart in a sector dominated by Apple and Microsoft, that is largely responsible for the growth trend in schools, according to a new report from IDC, a market research firm.

When a Company Is Put Up for Sale, in Many Cases, Your Personal Data Is, Too

Location:
New York Times, 620 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY, 10018, United States
Recommendation:
3

Of the 99 sites with English-language terms of service or privacy policies, 85 said they might transfer users’ information if a merger, acquisition, bankruptcy, asset sale or other transaction occurred.

Consumers Dislike Data-Mining but Feel Helpless to Stop It, Report Finds

Location:
Annenberg School for Communication - University of Pennsylvania, 3620 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, United States
Recommendation:
1

Should consumers be able to control how companies collect and use their personal data? At a dinner honoring privacy advocates this week in Washington, Timothy Cook, the chief executive of Apple, gave a speech in which he endorsed this simple idea. “You might like these so-called free services,” Mr. Cook said. “But we don’t think they’re worth having your e-mail or your search history or now even your family photos data-mined and sold off for God knows what advertising purpose.”

Legislators Introduce Student Digital Privacy Bill

Location:
Capitol Building, E Capitol St NE & 1st St NE, Washington, DC, United States
Recommendation:
2

Months after President Barack Obama proposed to strengthen digital privacy protection for students, two legislators, Reps Jared Polis (D-CO) and Luke Messer (R-IN) introduced a comprehensive bill in Congress intended to accomplish that goal.

Franchising a Student Digital Privacy Law

Location:
Common Sense Media, 650 Townsend, San Francisco, CA, 94103, United States
Recommendation:
2

I was skeptical when James P. Steyer, the chief executive of Common Sense Media, a children’s advocacy and media ratings group in San Francisco (CA), called me in the fall of 2013 to announce that he was going to have a law passed in California to restrict how education technology companies use student data.

Turning a Children’s Rating System Into an Advocacy Army

Location:
Common Sense Media, 650 Townsend, San Francisco, CA, 94103, United States
Recommendation:
2

James Steyer, chief executive of Common Sense Media, is trying to engage the country’s power brokers in his new crusade to put children and education at the top of the nation’s political agenda.

Report Questions Whether Health Apps Benefit Healthy People

Location:
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Recommendation:
1

Consumers looking to use their mobile devices to improve their health -- or at least maintain their well-being -- have tens of thousands of choices. But if those consumers are already healthy, the apps won’t necessarily do them any good, according to a new report in The BMJ, a British medical journal.

The Must-Attend Event for Education Technology Investors

Location:
Scottsdale, AZ, United States
Recommendation:
1

To observe the major forces at play in the education technology sector, one needed only to stand near the marble fountain in the Phoenician Resort lobby. That’s where hundreds of venture capitalists and executives attending an annual ed tech industry conference arranged -- in full view of their rivals -- to meet one another privately.

Online Test-Takers Feel Anti-Cheating Software’s Uneasy Glare

Location:
USA, United States
Recommendation:
2

The rise of Proctortrack, an anti-cheating technology, and other automated student analysis services like it have raised questions about where to draw the line, and whether the new systems are fair and accurate.

Bill Would Limit Use of Student Data

Location:
US Capitol, East Capitol Street, NE and 1st Street, NE, DC, 20515, United States
Recommendation:
1

Rep Jared S. Polis (D-CO) and Rep Luke Messer (R-IN) have cosponsored the Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act, a bill that would prohibit companies that operate school services -- like online homework portals, digital grade books for teachers or student email programs -- from knowingly using or disclosing students’ personal information to tailor advertisements to them.

Pearson Under Fire for Monitoring Students’ Twitter Posts

Location:
Pearson, 80 Strand, London, WC2R 0RL, United Kingdom
Recommendation:
1

Publishing giant Pearson Education has been monitoring social media to identify students who might be leaking information about certain tests administered by the company.

Privacy Pitfalls as Education Apps Spread Haphazardly

Location:
USA, United States
Recommendation:
1

At school districts across the country, the chief technology officers responsible for safeguarding student data are tearing their hair out. Scores of education technology start-ups, their pockets full from a rush of venture capital, are marketing new digital learning tools directly to teachers -- many are even offering them free to get a foothold in schools.

Digital Learning Companies Falling Short of Student Privacy Pledge

Location:
USA, United States
Recommendation:
1

Digital learning products can collect and analyze a wealth of detail about student use of apps and online services. The nationwide student privacy pledge was designed to reassure parents and teachers that the education technology industry was committed to safeguarding the student information it collected and to using it responsibly.

Data Security Gaps in an Industry Student Privacy Pledge

Location:
USA, United States
Recommendation:
1

Of the approximately 60 companies that have signed the student privacy pledge and have websites with logins for students, teachers or parents, about one-fifth of them did not use basic encryption -- called Secure Socket Layer or SSL -- during the login process, according to an investigation by Tony Porterfield, a software engineer in Los Altos (CA).

Uncovering Security Flaws in Digital Education Products for Schoolchildren

Location:
USA, United States
Recommendation:
1

“A lot of education sites have glaring security problems,” said Tony Porterfield, the principal engineer at a software start-up in Los Altos (CA). “A big part of the problem is that there’s not even any consensus of what ‘good security’ means for an educational website or app.”

Verizon to Allow Complete Opt Out of Mobile ‘Supercookies’

Location:
Verizon Communications, 140 West St, New York, NY, 10007, United States
Recommendation:
2

Verizon has decided to make a major revision to its mobile ad-targeting program. Users who do not want to be tracked with an identifier that Verizon uses for ad-targeting purposes will soon be able to completely opt out, the company said.

Verizon’s Mobile ‘Supercookies’ Seen as Threat to Privacy

Location:
Verizon Communications, 140 West St, New York, NY, 10007, United States
Recommendation:
2

Cybersecurity experts have been warning Verizon Wireless that it was putting the privacy of its customers at risk. The computer codes the company uses to tag and follow its mobile subscribers around the web, they said, could make those consumers vulnerable to covert tracking and profiling. It looks as if there was reason to worry.

Parents Challenge President to Dig Deeper on Ed Tech

Location:
USA, United States
Recommendation:
2

While education technology companies that have pledged not to exploit student data they collect for marketing purposes welcomed President Barack Obama’s endorsement of the industry’s effort to limit its use of classroom data, the President's comments did nothing to alleviate the unease of some parents concerned about potential civil rights issues raised by the increasing use of ed tech in schools.

President Obama to Call for Laws Covering Data Hacking and Student Privacy

Location:
Federal Trade Commission (FTC), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20580, United States
Recommendation:
1

On Jan 12, President Barack Obama will call for federal legislation intended to force American companies to be more forthcoming when credit card data and other consumer information are lost in an online breach. He will also propose the Student Data Privacy Act, which would prohibit technology firms from profiting from information collected in schools as teachers adopt tablets, online services and Internet-connected software.

Silicon Valley Turns Its Eye to Education

Location:
Silicon Valley, Palo Alto, CA, United States
Recommendation:
2

The education technology business is chock-full of fledgling companies whose innovative ideas have not yet proved effective -- or profitable. But that is not slowing investors, who are pouring money into ventures as diverse as free classroom-management apps for teachers and foreign language lessons for adult learners.

Complaint Says Ring Pop Campaign Violated Children’s Privacy

Location:
Federal Trade Commission (FTC), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20580, United States
Recommendation:
1

Ten advocacy groups have asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the Topps Company, the maker of Ring Pops, accusing the company of violating a federal children’s privacy protection law.

Protecting Data Privacy at School and at Play

Location:
USA, United States
Recommendation:
1

Parents trying to protect their child’s privacy and data security online are grappling with two main concerns -- information-sharing by children and data-mining by companies -- only one of which they may have some meaningful control over.

ClassDojo Adopts Deletion Policy for Student Data

Location:
ClassDojo, 735 Tehama Street, San Francisco, CA, 94103, United States
Recommendation:
1

The maker of ClassDojo, a popular behavioral tracking app used in schools across the United States, announced revisions in the way it retains student information.

Privacy Concerns for ClassDojo and Other Tracking Apps for Schoolchildren

Location:
ClassDojo, 735 Tehama Street, San Francisco, CA, 94103, United States
Recommendation:
1

Some parents, teachers and privacy law scholars say ClassDojo, along with other unproven technologies that record sensitive information about students, is being adopted without sufficiently considering the ramifications for data privacy and fairness, like where and how the data might eventually be used.