2013-05-17 / Top Stories

Addabbo Sponsors Bill To Protect Student Privacy

Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. is co-sponsoring a bill that is designed to protect the privacy of New York’s school children. The bill prevents personal information from being released to corporate entities and commercial vendors without permission from parents or the students.

“New York and several other states have recently agreed to provide confidential student information to corporate entities associated with the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation and the News Corp., owned by media magnate Rupert Murdoch,” said Addabbo in a media release. “As a parent and an elected official, I find it highly disturbing – especially since parents and students are not being given an opportunity to opt out of this information distribution. The bill I’m co-sponsoring will address this important privacy issue and protect student data from possible misuse.”

Information like student names, addresses, test scores, race, ethnicity, disabilities and even their disciplinary and attendance records is used by commercial vendors to help them create and market learning products. The information will be provided to a company called “in- Bloom,” which is creating a national database of student information to aid businesses who contract with schools in developing their teaching materials.

“No one questions that we want our school children to have topnotch teaching materials that will help them learn and succeed,” said Addabbo. “But invading the privacy of our children and families, and possibly even exposing them to identity theft, certainly isn’t the right way to go.”

Under the legislation, heavy restriction would be placed on the release of student personal data to third parties and “inBloom” would not be able to gather student information without consent from parents or students 18 and older.

“Data mining, even purportedly for the sake of educational innovation, is still data mining and must be subject to appropriate and effective privacy controls and protections,” said Addabbo.

The legislation is being considered by the Senate and Assembly Education Committees.

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