We are calling for strong privacy policies, transparency, robust community engagement on digital student privacy issues with parents and students in every school. In light of the widespread use of third party applications to manage student information and explosion of technology in the classroom, transport, safety - data privacy and protection regulations must be clarified and expanded to adequately achieve their stated goal of protecting student and parent confidentiality.
"International Data Privacy Day is held annually on January 28th to create awareness about the importance of respecting privacy, safeguarding data and enabling trust. DPD highlights easy ways to protect personal information and reminds organizations that privacy is good for business. This year, the theme is “Own Your Privacy” by learning more about how to help protect the valuable data that is online." - National Cyber Security Alliance
Technology in education has opened up the learning and accessibility to everyone, there are exciting opportunities for students, teachers and schools, it has also exposed the new risks. To reap the benefits of technology, we must ensure that their privacy is protected. NexSchools aims to edify school leaders, students and teachers to advocate for effective policies, educate about the laws governing youth privacy where technology meets student information.
Why Data Privacy Important For Schools?
In the context of schools, privacy has special importance. Personal information is valuable for corporations wishing to target schools and students for advertising intended for sale of different products and services, no doubt data is also known as a commodity in the Internet era. Personal data of students related to health information, behavioural and discipline data are used in many ways unimaginable for targeted sales and marketing purposes. Invasion to students’ information now has both immediate and long term life-term consequences.
Widespread Use Of Third Party Applications
According to Technopak, management consulting company the K12 segment is valued at $52 billion in 2020 with a market share of 52%. When for profit corporations stand to make or loose this much money, what’s best for the school children including their privacy can be left behind.
“Did you know using digital technologies in school premises for student information systems, surveillance cameras, to monitor assess and track student progress, behaviour and development collect a large amount of sensitive data?”
There are several reasons for lack of intent in safeguarding the data privacy:
Schools do not take data privacy seriously both in governement and private schools including preschools.
Intent with urgency for the need to have education for data privacy in general and it’s far-reaching consequences are lesser known.
The edtech and third-party application companies providing services to school themselves lack the secure data technology.
The overall lack of knowledge in understanding of cyber safety and its role for school, students, teachers including parents
There are no data privacy policies and therefore transparency with parents and students is out of question
Acknowledgment of problem is missing therefore; the necessity for training in areas such as cyber safety by school leaders and teachers is overlooked is altogether missing in the list of priority.
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What Can Schools Do?
“Student data should be governed by thoughtful, transparent policies and regulations, and the interests of students and parents should be taken into account.”
We all have shared responsibility to educate ourselves first regarding data privacy and best practices
Strong privacy policies must be created.
Foster a culture of putting all privacy regulations into practice
Develop policies to protect and share data
Be transparent about why and how you use data
Data privacy policies and strategies to manage students’ information must be extended to third party applications.
Parent confidentiality should also be taken into consideration while taking the services of third party.
Schools must practice data back up and contingency plans to recover it through disaster recovery.
Data Privacy Is At Risk Due to Cyber Security Attacks
Data privacy may be compromised due to cybersecurity attacks. The schools today are cluster of big data as the number of student in a single school sometimes is as high as 2000 to over 3000. The hackers know school technology platforms contain large amounts of students, facilities and other potential activities making them target for rising threats.
We have not discussed here risks due to ransomware attacks in the school network, the best policy is the back up regularly at location and in case of virus or ransomware attacks revert to back up copy and restore the systems.
Stay tuned for more in the next blog where we will be sharing about other cyber threats to schools and what they can do about it.
Thanks for stopping by comment below for questions, suggestions and more.
Privacy And Freedom – Alan F. Westin https://scholarlycommons.law.wlu.edu/wlulr/vol25/iss1/20/
Tags: Take Control of Your Privacy | Own Your Privacy | Cyber Safety Awareness Capaign by NexSchools | Learn Cyber Safety for Students & Teachers