89% of Americans Concerned about Advertisers Using Personal Data about Children!

Dear Commons Community,

Eighty-nine percent of Americans reported they are “very” or “somewhat” concerned about “advertisers using personal data about children to market to them,” according to a nationally representative survey conducted by the Benenson Strategy Group on behalf of Common Sense Media, an advocacy group for children and families. The survey asked questions of 800 registered voters, including 227 parents, by phone earlier this month, and has a 3.5 percent margin of error.  As reported in The Huffington Post:

“The poll found that while only 37 percent of the public has “seen, read, or heard” “some” or “a great deal” about schools collecting, storing and sharing information, including age, weight and grades, 90 percent are “somewhat” or “very” concerned about private companies having access to student data.

“Student privacy and the protection of data is about to explode as an issue in the United States,” said James Steyer, who heads Common Sense Media. “The numbers are off the charts. It’s clear that students’ personal and private information must not be for sale. Period…”

“As we started looking at the plan to wire all the classrooms in America and the increasing numbers of blended learning classrooms and all these schools going high-tech, we also saw that privacy concerns were going to emerge,” Steyer said. “Data is used to track achievement, but the issue is making sure data is only used for student advancement purposes.”

Companies like inBloom, a Gates Foundation-sponsored student database, have aroused suspicion in parents. InBloom launched with $100 million and a plan to work with states to track student information — including grades and addresses — from kindergarten through high school. According to Reuters, district administrators would have legal control over the information, but inBloom could share some of it with vendors.

Parents scared of potential misuse of their children’s data protested, and every state that had signed up to use inBloom’s services backed out — except for New York, which recently announced it would postpone its implementation due to technical reasons. A group of 12 parents in New York announced they would seek a restraining order to prevent the state from uploading student information to the company.”

As commented on in this blog, inBloom is owned by Rupert Murdoch who after the hacking scandal in Great Britain cannot be trusted to be involved in any aspect of our children’s lives let alone operating a student database.



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