Cloud Computing and Privacy

Do you ever wonder what happens to your data in the cloud? to your children's data? Then you are like just about everyone else! Since the NSA news many of us are hoping to learn more about cloud privacy. Meanwhile, we continue to upload more and more information, images and more each day!

I am doing some writing for Intel's K12Blueprint. As a part of this, I have the enjoyable task of reading Educational Technology Research. I especially like reading new research and information because I feel it really can inform our day to day decisions and hands on work with technology.

A recent post I wrote involved Cloud Computing and Privacy as it relates to schools. The research was done by Fordham University's CLIP (Center for Law and Information Policy)

 

Results

  • A significantly large percentage of schools rely on cloud services: 95% of schools used cloud services for a wide range of functions such as student data, classroom activities, financial payment and scheduling.
  • Information was loosely governed and poorly understood: Only 25% of school systems inform parents of the use of cloud services. A full 20% of schools lack sufficient policy or documentation regarding the use of online services.
  • School systems often surrender control of student information: In fact, 25% of agreements don’t specify disclosure information. Only 7% of contracts ruled out the sale or marketing of student information by vendors. Many agreements allow vendors to change terms. FERPA laws do give schools control over student information when disclosed to vendors.
  • Most cloud services contracts do not address parental notice with regards to use of cloud services and student information: When parents are given online access, the terms they agree to can easily differ from the one between the school system and the vendor. FERPA, PPRA and COPPA laws give school systems requirements regarding parent notice and access to information.

This study gives schools lots to think about. It also gives vendors a big challenge as well. Design practices and policies to protect students and communicate them well. 

What stands out most to you about this information?