Considering accessibility as part of the public procurement process is an absolute must

Tracy Mitrano, Supply Management (UK),  Thursday, May 28, 2015

Making technology accessible to all, especially in today’s digital era, is critical to ensuring every person can live an informed, content-rich and fulfilling life. But to truly promote digital inclusion, more consistent accessibility policies are needed across the board. Member states in the EU have an important opportunity to lead in this area and set accessibility standards globally.

Shifting Tides

Tracy Mitrano, Inside Higher Ed,  Tuesday, May 26, 2015

“The Senate is in gridlock, but the tides are shifting,” said Michael W. Macleod-Ball, acting director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington legislative office. “For the first time, a majority of senators took a stand against simply rubber-stamping provisions of the Patriot Act that have been used to spy on Americans.”

Protecting student privacy in the Digital Age

Sens. Edward J. Markey and Orrin Hatch, The Hill,  Friday, May 15, 2015

Schools may be winding down to the end of the school year, but as they do so, they are also ratcheting up the use of technology to bolster student engagement. Whether on a computer or in the cloud, digital tools are being used to help improve students’ reading, writing and arithmetic skills. But as student information moves from folders in a cabinet to the folders in the cloud, we need to ensure that the enormous power of technology is harnessed to the benefit of students and not for any unknown means.

Security Discussions

Tracy Mitrano, Inside Higher Ed,  Thursday, May 14, 2015

We are all on the same page! After years of bridging the gap between “privacy” and “security” my sense in the aftermath of these two conferences is that higher education community is becoming increasingly aware and interested in closing the gap between these two areas of law, technology and business practice on our campuses. A more sophisticated approach, one that transcends each of those respective areas in favor of comprehensive information management programs that seek institutional governance, compliance and risk management.

Senators unveil student data privacy bill

Cory Bennett, The Hill,  Thursday, May 14, 2015

Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) reintroduced a bill on Wednesday to restrict education companies from selling or using student data to target ads. The measure would also require private companies to meet certain data security requirements when handling student information.

Students, Data, and Blurred Lines

Tracy Mitrano, Cornell University,  Thursday, April 30, 2015

As technology transforms the classroom, Internet companies and government leaders have a vital role to play in assuring that the privacy and integrity of the data that existed in the physical world for youth and students remains consistent in the digital era.

Unhappy Anniversary, Google

Tracy Mitrano, Inside Higher Ed,  Thursday, April 30, 2015

In a year of tremendous growth, we can celebrate the innovations of Google along with advancements in education technology. In the meantime, with one year under Google’s belt since announcing that it would no longer scan student data for advertising purposes, unanswered questions remain at best, deception at worst – and until these questions are addressed, educational institutions have reason to proceed with caution.

U.S. Student Digital Data Privacy and Parental Rights Act of 2015 Introduced

Bradley Shear by Bradley Shear, Law Office of Bradley S. Shear
Thursday, April 30, 2015

Earlier this year, I advocated for my home state of Maryland to enact a similar student privacy bill which was also modeled after California's SB 1177. I was very troubled to witness Facebook and Google (here is a link to the hearing where you will see that the representatives of these companies were actively trying to thwart passage of robust student privacy protections) advocate for amendments to gut the bill's privacy protections for our children. My hope is that Facebook, Google, etc... realize that their continued refusal to accept appropriate limits on student data collection, processing, and usage will continue to make parents suspicious about their motives for providing educational technology tools. These companies are two of the largest advertising entities in the world and their actions so far clearly demonstrate that they want access to personal student data for marketing purposes.

Bill to protect student privacy introduced in Congress

Rich Lord, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,  Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Two members of Congress today introduced legislation intended to keep the burgeoning education technology industry from selling data on students, or using it to steer targeted advertising. Luke Messer, R-Indiana, and Jared Polis, D-Colorado, said the proposed Student Data Privacy and Parental Rights Act would prevent misuse of personal information submitted by students and parents to educational websites and apps, while allowing innovation in K-12 classrooms to flourish.

EU and Google

Tracy Mitrano, Inside Higher Ed,  Thursday, April 16, 2015

Because this action will likely stretch out for a long time, this blog post is not intended to be definitive on the subject but an introduction. At first blush, there are three main reasons why the E.U. antitrust action against Google is significant to U.S. higher education.