Wednesday, October 12, 2016

NYC Public School Parents: Serious privacy concerns with the new Summit/Facebook platform, used in 100 schools across the nation

NYC Public School Parents: Serious privacy concerns with the new Summit/Facebook platform, used in 100 schools across the nation:

Serious privacy concerns with the new Summit/Facebook platform, used in 100 schools across the nation

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Our concerns about the open-ended data sharing of the Summit/Facebook software platform was featured on the front page of today’s Washington Post. This software is in 100 schools nationwide, about two thirds of them public schools. The list is here. Two of the schools are in NYC:  the Bronx Writing Academy in District 9; and J.H.S. 088 Peter Rouget in District 15 in Brooklyn.

Summit is sharing the student personal data with Facebook, Google, Clever and whomever else they please – through an open-ended consent form that they have demanded parents sign.  A copy of the consent form is here.    

I have never seen such a wholesale demand from any company for personal student data, and can imagine many ways it could be abused.  Among other things, Summit/Facebook claims they will have the right to use the personal data “to improve their products and services,” to “conduct surveys, studies” and “perform any other activities requested by the school. ”  

 Here is an excerpt:  

 Summit may collect information that you provide or your child provides directly to Summit, such as contact information, coursework, testing, and grades. Summit also may collect information automatically from browsers, computers, and devices (such as information from cookies and browser and device identifiers in order to remember your preferences)..... Summit may use your child’s information to conduct surveys and studies; develop new features, products, and services; and otherwise as requested by your school or consistent with your consent. ... Summit also may disclose information to third-party service providers and partners as directed or authorized by the school. For example, Summit uses Clever, Facebook, and Google to help develop and improve the personalized learning plan software or to provide related educational services on Summit’s behalf

They claim they won’t use the child's personal data for targeted ads (as would be banned anyway in the CA law called SOPIPA) but this is among the only restriction. They say they can sell the data "in connection with a corporate transaction, such as the sale of our Services, a merger, consolidation, asset sale." The one-sided Terms of Service is here; the Privacy Policy is here

The Summit platform has never been independently vetted for security protections – or shown to yield any educational benefits, and I believe is a very radical way to outsource instruction and student data to private companies. 

Other reasons that teachers as well as parents should be concerned:

The Terms of Service claims the right to use the intellectual property of teachers in these schools, including course assignments, etc. and even student work without any recompense: “You Grant Us a non--‐exclusive, perpetual, transferable, NYC Public School Parents: Serious privacy concerns with the new Summit/Facebook platform, used in 100 schools across the nation:


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