Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Privacy Fact Sheet from Class Size Matters

Original posted at Class Size Matters

New York State is planning to share your child’s confidential information with private corporations

New York State and NYC Department of Education, along with 8 other states (MA, LA, CO, IL, NC, GA, DE, KY), have agreed to share confidential student and teacher data with a Gates-funded corporation called inBloom Inc, as confirmed in a recent article in Reuters.

This confidential data will include your child’s personally identifiable information, including name, address, grades, test scores, disciplinary and attendance records, race, ethnicity, economic status, disabilities, health conditions and other highly sensitive information.

The information is to be stored in an electronic “data store” built by Wireless Generation, a subsidiary of News Corporation. News Corp is owned by Rupert Murdoch and has been found to have illegally violated privacy in Great Britain and in the US.

The “data store” will be placed on a cloud managed by inBloom Inc. has already stated that it “cannot guarantee the security of the information stored…or that the information will not be intercepted when it is being transmitted.”

inBloom Inc. intends to make this highly confidential data available to commercial vendors to help them develop and market their “learning products.”

All this is happening without parental knowledge or consent.

We believe that NYS & NYC should immediately:
Notify all parents of these impending disclosures, and provide them with the right to consent before their child’s information is shared;

Hold public hearings to explain the point of these disclosures, and hear from parents & privacy experts about the plan’s potential to violate their children’s privacy, security and safety;

Explain how families can obtain relief if their children are harmed by the improper use or accidental release of this information, including who will be held financially responsible;

Pledge that the privacy rights of public school children and their families will be respected over the interests of the Gates Foundation, inBloom Inc., News Corporation, or any other company or organization with whom this information may be shared.

What can parents do?
Ask your elected officials, CEC, PTA, or other parent or community group to send a letter to the State or DOE, protesting this violation of student privacy rights.

Email the following opt-out letter to NYS Education Commissioner John King, with a copy to other state officials, demanding that your child’s confidential educational records NOT be shared with ANY third parties. It is recommended that individuals sending a letter also copy members of their local school board.

If the Commissioner does not respond within five business days, follow up with a phone call to his office at (518) 474 – 5844.  And please let us know his response by emailing us at

CC:,, ,,,,,,
Subject: Opting out of sharing my child’s data
Dear Commissioner King:  As a parent, I was appalled to learn, as aReuters article confirms, that the NY State Education Department is planning to share the most private, confidential data of my child and all NYS public school students with a corporation called inBloom Inc., that will store this highly sensitive information on a vulnerable data cloud and disclose it to for-profit vendors.
This data will include children’s personally identifiable information, including names, addresses, phone numbers, grades, test scores, detailed disciplinary records, health conditions, special education and economic status.
inBloom Inc. has already stated that it “cannot guarantee the security of the information stored…or that the information will not be intercepted when it is being transmitted.”  All this is happening without parental notification or consent.
I hereby OPT my child’s data out of this plan, and demand that you do NOT disclose any of my child’s personally identifiable educational records with ANY third party, including the Gates Foundation, inBloom Inc. or ANY other private entity or corporation.
I DO NOT give my consent. Instead, I urge you to hold public hearings in NYC and throughout the state to explain the purpose of this project, offer all New York parents the right to consent, and inform the public who will be legally and financially responsible if this highly sensitive data leaks out or is used in an unauthorized fashion.  I expect to hear back from you immediately as to whether you will honor my request to withhold my child’s private and confidential educational records.
If not, I will call your office until you do so. I am outraged at this plan which not only violates every ethical standard, but also your commitment as the state’s highest educational official to protect my child from harm.
Parent of [CHILD”S NAME, grade, school, town or borough]___

If you do not hear back, follow up with a phone call to King’s office: (518) 474-5844.
Also call Regents head Merryl Tisch at (518) 474-5889 and Assembly Speaker Silver, who is in charge of appointing the Board of Regents who appoint the NYS Education Commissioner: (212) 312-1423 or (518) 455-3791.

Please also forward this message to your legislators; with a note saying you hope they will intercede on your behalf.  Your Assembly member can be found here:  your State Senator here.

And please keep us in the loop at as to what responses  you receive.  Thanks!

1 comment:

  1. Great column. You sound exactly like someone I'd love to know. Keep celebrating you. The world needs a lot more people just like you. Thanks for your honesty.
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