Sunday, May 26, 2013

Video and news from NYC parents' explosive Town Hall meeting on inBloom's invasion of student privacy

The parents, rising in resistance to inBloom invasion of student privacy.
InBloom is being used in several states to accomodate Race to the Top obligations for data collection and management.
LATEST DEVELOPMENTS follow the April 30 post.
The April 30 news from the NYC Public School Parents blog:
Tuesday, April 30, 2013: Video and news from our explosive Town Hall meeting on student privacy Yesterday we held a Town hall meeting at Brooklyn Borough Hall about the state and city plan to share personally identifiable student information with a corporation called inBloom inc. and other third party vendors.

About 150 people showed up, including two Regents (Regent Kathleen Cashin of Brooklyn and Regent Betty Rosa of the Bronx), and two representatives from the State Education Department (Dennis Tompkins, Chief of External Affairs and Nicolas Storelli-Castro, Director of Governmental Relations), who listened to the presentations and the passionate objections of parents. Adina Lopatin, Deputy Chief Academic Officer of NYC DOE spoke and answered questions. I also gave a presentation about inBloom and DOE provided a FAQ here. Unfortunately, inBloom and the Gates Foundation refused our invitation to attend.

Some of the disturbing revelations from Adina: The city and state have already shared confidential student data with inBloom. They don't know how much they will have to pay for inBloom's "services" starting in 2015. If there is a data breach from inBloom (as many people believe is nearly inevitable) the state will be legally and financially liable, since the Gates Foundation has insulated itself and inBloom from responsibility.

If this highly sensitive information leaks out, it could lead to class action suits against the state for many millions of dollars. Just yesterday, it was reported that LivingSocial suffered a massive breach from a data cloud. Living Social is partially owned by Amazon, which will host the inBloom data cloud. Why is NY State -- the only inBloom participant currently committed to sharing student data from throughout the state -- insisting on gambling with millions of children's privacy and security along with all these financial risks? I am left wondering, even more than before.

Here are some newsclips that capture the intense anger expressed by many parents: Village Voice: NYC Parents Grill Department of Education Over Private Student Data Cloud ; EdSurge: NYC Parents Raise Questions About InBloom; The Indypendent: How Murdoch, Bill Gates and Big Corporations Are Data Mining Our Schools; WINS radio/CBS: Parents Irate Over NYC DOE Plan To Give Student Data To Nonprofit Organization ; Brooklyn Daily Eagle: Parents eye city plan to give individual student records to private biz

Below is the video of Part II of the evening, with passionate statements and questions from the audience. Video of Part I starts with some parent outbursts, followed by introductory remarks from Margaret Kelley of the Brooklyn Borough President's office and Stephen Boese of the Learning Disabilities Association, and Adina's presentation and mine. It is still on the Livestream site, but will be posted here soon.

I have also sent follow-up questions to Adina and I will post her answers when I receive them. Thank you to all the co-sponsoring organizations and individuals, those you who came and Brooklyn BP Markowitz for hosting. Now please contact your legislators and urge them to support the Student Privacy bill!
May 27: Comptroller John Lui's letter to the Commissioner and Regents about inBloom
Liu asked New York State Education Commissioner John King to halt the sharing of personally identifiable student data with inBloom.
May 22: City Council Members Brewer, Jackson & Lander introduce resolution to protect student privacy
May 21: Western New York state parents enraged against standardized testing and sharing of student's private data:
Parents in Western NYS outraged about testing and confidential data sharing; with news video link --see at right. May 18: Video of Mayoral forum, moderated by Diane Ravitch; and will Bill Thompson ask Merryl Tisch to stop the sharing of students' personal data with inBloom?

Beginning of May 11 post, As even more states withdraw from inBloom, NY remains, and all parents should remain vigilant!
Yesterday we learned from the twitter feed of the invaluable Reuters investigative reporter Stephanie Simon that "there are no plans" for Delaware, Georgia or Kentucky to share their confidential, personally identifiable student data with the Gates-funded corporation called inBloom Inc. Moreover, Bob Swiggum, Chief Information Officer at the Georgia Department of Education has said that the furor over student privacy makes states wary of this insecure database: "I don't know how inBloom will survive this."

So, let's make a quick review of where the states and districts now stand that inBloom still claims as "partners":

*John White, the Louisiana State Superintendent announced a few weeks ago he was pulling all student data out of the inBloom cloud because of protests and privacy concerns of parents.

*Georgia, Delaware and Kentucky, all three states listed on the inBloom website as "Phase II" states, due to start piloting the system in 2013, have now said that they too are not planning to participate.

*A high-ranking Massachusetts education official recently wrote that they reconsidering their plan to share the data from their one "pilot" district, Everett, until they reassess "the security risks."

*Another pilot district, Guilford NC, has said that "the pilot program was still very much in the conceptual stage and that GCS had not even seen as much of a product demonstration at this early point in the process.”

*Officials from Jefferson County in Colorado have told parents that though they still intend to go through with this risky plan, "we have not shared any data at this point. The sharing of data would occur about a year from now....approximately January-March of 2014 (in that time frame).”

*Illinois officials have revealed that Unit 5 in Normal is not sharing its data with inBloom, though District 87 in Bloomington is still apparently participating.

So now it appears that the only current participants in the inBloom cloud that admit to sharing data at this point appear to be New York state, with its 2.7 million public school students, and (perhaps) Bloomington, Illinois, a town with a total enrollment of 5,414 students. [If anyone knows parents in either Bloomington or Normal, please let me know. Illinois is the only inBloom state where there is not yet an active contingent of parents protesting their state's involvement.]
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