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In Brief: January 2014


Fordham Law Study Finds Data Privacy Issue in School’s Cloud Computing Services

Fordham Law School’s Center on Law and Information Policy (CLIP) released a groundbreaking report on Dec. 13 on how school districts address privacy when they transfer student information to cloud computing service providers.

The study found that as public schools in the United States rapidly adopt cloud-computing services, they transfer increasing quantities of student information to third-party providers without requiring basic privacy protections. As a result, school districts frequently fall short of federal privacy standards and community expectations for children’s privacy.

“School districts throughout the country are embracing the use of cloud computing services for important educational goals, but have not kept pace with appropriate safeguards for the personal data of school children,” said Joel Reidenberg, Ph.D., the Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Chair and the founding director of CLIP. Reidenberg points out that vendors who are not generally subject to federal privacy laws have put schools in a precarious position for the stewardship of children’s data through their contract terms.

“We believe there are critical actions that school districts and vendors must take to address the serious deficiencies in privacy protection.”

Fordham CLIP analyzed a national sample of public school districts including large, medium, and small school systems from every geographic region of the country.

Among other key points, the analysis found that 95 percent of districts rely on cloud services for a diverse range of functions such as data mining related to student performance, support for classroom activities, student guidance, data hosting, and special services. An overwhelming majority of cloud service contracts do not address parental notice, consent, or access to student information.

—Steve Eichinger

BTEP Marks International Human Rights Day

On Dec. 9, the Graduate School of Social Service’s Be the Evidence Project (BTEP) hosted a screening of the documentary Mothers of Bedford, which follows five incarcerated women struggling to maintain relationships with their children from behind bars. Following the showing, director Jenifer McShane and Mona, one of the women featured in the documentary, spoke about the film and answered questions from audience members. The event was held as part of the United Nations’ Human Rights Day, which has been celebrated globally every Dec. 10 since 1950 to commemorate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. GSS’s Institute for Women and Girls co-sponsored the event.

—Tom Stoelker

VIDEO: Bedford Moms
To watch a video, click here.


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