Google joins Apple, Microsoft, others in student data privacy pledge

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 2015
A number of tech industry heavyweights, including Apple, Microsoft and Google, have pledged support for a data privacy initiative aimed at keeping student information safe.




After passing on the opportunity to sign on to a student privacy pledge endorsed by President Barack Obama last week, Google on Tuesday changed course and is now part of a list of 91 companies supporting the initiative, reports The Wall Street Journal. Apple, Microsoft and 73 other big education technology firms signed on last week.

The Student Privacy Pledge was introduced last October as a joint project from the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) and the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA). It holds signatories accountable for a variety of privacy issues facing today's students, including provisions for greater transparency on data collection and use, implementation of comprehensive security standards, set limits on data retention and promises to not sell student information.

Prior to today's announcement, Google maintained that its internal policies were enough to demonstrate a commitment to student data privacy. The report notes, however, that the Internet search giant is likely hesitant to agree to broad industry pledges after being fined $22.5 million by the Federal Trade Commission in 2012 over cookie-based Web tracking. Coincidentally, that particular issue was related to an exploit discovered in Apple's Safari browser.

"We've signed the pledge to reaffirm the commitments we've made directly to our customers," a Google spokeswoman said.

For its part, Google has promised that its Google Apps for Education program, which has some 40 million student, teacher and administrator users, does not and will not implement ads.

As of this writing, the Student Privacy Pledge has 91 signatories covering a broad swath of the tech sector. Among the 15 companies that signed up on Tuesday was YouTube-based Khan Academy, which recently released its entire course lineup to iPad users via an app update.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    So how exactly do they hold signatories accountable? Did Google just decide they could sign on because it doesn't mean anything or will there actually be repercussions for a company that doesn't abide by their pledge?

    I've read through the pledge website and apart from detailing who has pledged, what they are pledging and some contact details there isn't anything in there about how individual companies will be held accountable.
  • Reply 2 of 18
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    LOL
  • Reply 3 of 18
    gtr wrote: »
    LOL

    I echo your sentiment.

    Also, with government agencies and politicians continually undermining and demanding backdoor access to our data and the various spy agencies hacking into and weakening privacy everywhere, these pledges ARE laughable.
  • Reply 4 of 18
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,817member
    lolliver wrote: »
    So how exactly do they hold signatories accountable? Did Google just decide they could sign on because it doesn't mean anything or will there actually be repercussions for a company that doesn't abide by their pledge?

    I've read through the pledge website and apart from detailing who has pledged, what they are pledging and some contact details there isn't anything in there about how individual companies will be held accountable.
    I don't think there is any accountability connected to the pledge, at least from what I've read thru. Of course making a public commitment and then reneging on it would probably attract a pretty severe backlash from the press and public, if not from some government agency as well.

    FWIW Apple declined to pledge (or simply ignored it as unimportant perhaps) when the initiative was first announced back in October, although Microsoft was in on it from the beginning. It looks like Apple joined up only quite recently as well, perhaps just last week?
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/mollyhensleyclancy/whos-missing-from-new-student-privacy-pledge-google-apple-pe#.klY22dADWn
  • Reply 5 of 18
    Google is involved in Common Core, so is Microsoft. This pledge is meaningless. .
  • Reply 6 of 18
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,817member
    Google is involved in Common Core, so is Microsoft. This pledge is meaningless. .
    So is Apple so I'm not sure what point you're making.
    http://www.infowars.com/apple-showcases-education-apps-aligned-to-common-core-standards/
  • Reply 7 of 18
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,972member
    gatorguy wrote: »

    Common Core is a joke. Kids are taught so many things so fast that they never master anything. One needs a firm grasp of fundamental concepts before they can move on to complex ones.
  • Reply 8 of 18
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,817member
    dasanman69 wrote: »
    Common Core is a joke. Kids are taught so many things so fast that they never master anything. One needs a firm grasp of fundamental concepts before they can move on to complex ones.
    Can't say I'd disagree. Isn't there some bill floating around to repeal it? Dunno. In any event I was trying to find out why the OP, WhiteFalcon, was using it to connect the dots showing the Student Privacy Initiative pledges from Apple, Google and the like were meaningless
  • Reply 9 of 18
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,972member
    gatorguy wrote: »
    Can't say I'd disagree. Isn't there some bill floating around to repeal it? Dunno. In any event I was trying to find out why the OP, WhiteFalcon, was using it to connect the dots showing the Student Privacy Initiative pledges from Apple, Google and the like were meaningless

    I don’t know of any bill to repeal it. The individual States weren't given any guidance on how to institute it. Some started teaching it at Kindergarten, and left the other grades continue on with the old curriculum while others moved every grade to it, and the children were unprepared for it. My 9 yr old son is currently learning division, and almost everyday he's learning a different way to do it. I fear he won't retain a single method, because he didn't do it enough times.

    And yes that connection didn't make much sense.
  • Reply 10 of 18
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,817member
    dasanman69 wrote: »
    I don’t know of any bill to repeal it..
    Several states have dropped it, but the Federal Govt is considering the same now apparently.
    http://benswann.com/new-legislation-could-erase-common-core-standards/
  • Reply 11 of 18
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,976member

    I hope the Student Privacy Pledge becomes law because the insane state of Illinois just came out with a law that takes all freedom away from students. Illinois law now gives school administrators the legal right WITHOUT a subpoena or warrant to demand a student's social media password. What's going on in this country? 

     

    ---A letter sent to parents in the state states that "If your child has an account on a social networking website, e.g., Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, ask.fm, etc., please be aware that State law requires school authorities to notify you that your child may be asked to provide his or her password for these accounts to school officials in certain circumstances." No subpoena or warrant is required for the demand, just the agreement of school officials. The agreement process isn't codified in the law, and is left up to school districts to decide what is considered "certain circumstances."

     

    http://www.electronista.com/articles/15/01/21/orwellian.law.demands.passwords.if.school.officials.request.them/

  • Reply 12 of 18
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,972member
    gatorguy wrote: »
    Several states have dropped it, but the Federal Govt is considering the same now apparently.
    http://benswann.com/new-legislation-could-erase-common-core-standards/

    How I wish that happens. Search Common Core questions and you'll see all the ridiculous questions these kids get asked to answer on a daily basis.
  • Reply 13 of 18
    blah64blah64 Posts: 900member
    rob53 wrote: »
    I hope the Student Privacy Pledge becomes law because the insane state of Illinois just came out with a law that takes all freedom away from students. Illinois law now gives school administrators the legal right WITHOUT a subpoena or warrant to demand a student's social media password. What's going on in this country? 

    ---A letter sent to parents in the state states that "If your child has an account on a social networking website, e.g., Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, ask.fm, etc., please be aware that State law requires school authorities to notify you that your child may be asked to provide his or her password for these accounts to school officials in certain circumstances." No subpoena or warrant is required for the demand, just the agreement of school officials. The agreement process isn't codified in the law, and is left up to school districts to decide what is considered "certain circumstances."
     
    <span style="line-height:1.4em;">http://www.electronista.com/articles/15/01/21/orwellian.law.demands.passwords.if.school.officials.request.them/</span>

    Laws like this are asinine, of course. But there's a lesson to be learned here as well, which is that there is no such thing as secret or private when you use public social networks. Both kids and adults use these services under the mistaken assumption that they are a way to communicate privately with friends and family, but they most definitely are not. Of course this is just as true with email datamining services as well, but that's another story. Until adults figure this out, and teach their kids, the kids have no chance. This is also time to consider whether your (assuming) kids really, truly need to be using these public social networks. Contrary to the ridiculous notions of some people, they are NOT a necessity.
  • Reply 14 of 18
    blah64blah64 Posts: 900member
    For its part, Google has promised that its Google Apps for Education program, which has some 40 million student, teacher and administrator users, does not and will not implement ads.

    Notice that, yet again, google doesn't say anything about not datamining personal data, only that they won't show ads. As far as I can tell from every official google response, the datamining is still happening. From kids, teachers, parents, it doesn't matter.

    How is it that school district administrators can't read and comprehend this?
  • Reply 15 of 18

    It is a good news for everyone that Google always think about data security and make many effects to secure it.

  • Reply 16 of 18

    For its part, Google has promised that its Google Apps for Education program, which has some 40 million student, teacher and administrator users, does not and will not implement ads.

     

    ROFLAMO

    :smokey: 

  • Reply 17 of 18
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,817member
    blah64 wrote: »
    Laws like this are asinine, of course. But there's a lesson to be learned here as well, which is that there is no such thing as secret or private when you use public social networks. Both kids and adults use these services under the mistaken assumption that they are a way to communicate privately with friends and family, but they most definitely are not. Of course this is just as true with email datamining services as well, but that's another story. Until adults figure this out, and teach their kids, the kids have no chance. This is also time to consider whether your (assuming) kids really, truly need to be using these public social networks. Contrary to the ridiculous notions of some people, they are NOT a necessity.

    Kids don't particularly care IMO. If you have children and can ever read their Facebook posts you'd be amazed at what they are willing to share with everyone. Family happenings, birthdays, medical stuff, who's having sex with who. . .

    Instagram is even worse, with a whole lotta nude and semi-nude pics being sent around.

    Privacy issues are not a priority for them. Probably never enters their mind.
  • Reply 18 of 18
    blah64blah64 Posts: 900member
    gatorguy wrote: »
    Kids don't particularly care IMO. If you have children and can ever read their Facebook posts you'd be amazed at what they are willing to share with everyone. Family happenings, birthdays, medical stuff, who's having sex with who. . .

    Instagram is even worse, with a whole lotta nude and semi-nude pics being sent around.

    Privacy issues are not a priority for them. Probably never enters their mind.

    Definitely true, and definitely a reason that "under-13" laws need to be more strictly enforced than they are now (unlike Zfuckerberg's warped ideas: Though his sister may have different views:
    A big question is: which direction are things headed in the future.

    Teens and 20s are slowly but surely getting smarter about (lack of) privacy issues, and internet usage/issues in general. Over time that may reduce some of the stupidness you're talking about. But at the end of the day, kids are kids, and they do not have, and never will have, the life experiences of adults. I know it would sound like sacrilege to many, but I don't think kids should be able to use crap like facebook until they're at least 16 or better, 18. Like driving a car or owning a gun, there are risks involved that are impossible to grasp for children/teens. Then again, most adults are pretty stupid, so I'm probably fooling myself, but at least give kids a chance to be kids; face-to-face socialization is a really important part of kid/teen development.
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