A Fordham Law School study found that state educational databases across the country ignore key privacy protections for the nation’s school children. The study reports that at least 32% of states warehouse children’s social security numbers; at least 22% of states record student pregnancies; and at least 46% of the states track mental health, illness, and jail sentences as part of the children’s educational records. Some states outsource the data processing without any restrictions on use or confidentiality for children’s information. Access to this information and the disclosure of personal data may occur for decades and follow children well into their adult lives. These findings come as Congress is considering the Student Aid and Financial Responsibility Act, which would expand and integrate the 43 existing state databases without taking into account the critical privacy failures in the states’ electronic warehouses of children’s information. For more information on children’s privacy issues see EPIC Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and EPIC DOD Recruiting Database.
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Machines of Loving Grace by John Markoff