Utah Rep Jason Chaffetz on Dept. of Ed Data Mining: “It has become an absolute monster”   4 comments

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Parents and Educators Against Common Core Standards posted the following incredibly important video of this week’s “Information Security Review” of the US Department of Education which was led by Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz.

Please watch it.

Chaffetz opens the discussion (minutes 1-9) showing slides of the US Department of Education getting an “F” in protecting student data –with negative scores across every category.  The students’ vulnerability, Rep Chaffetz says, is huge, not only students but for their parents, because of data collected, for example, in the National Student Loan Database which collects data that families fill out and submit together.

(He doesn’t mention this, but each state’s SLDS system gathers and feeds data from your child’s schoolwork to the state to the feds, too; for example, via the EdFacts Data Exchange.)

Next, Chaffetz says that the Dept. of Education is responsible for 4 billion dollars in improper payments (minute 8:30) which will be discussed in the next hearing in detail (not during this one).

After summarizing the mismanagement of funds and data, Chaffetz summarizes the gargantuan harms of the Department of Education: “It has become a monster, an absolute monster.  We don’t know who’s in there; we don’t know what they’re doing.”

Then, the hearing begins.

Listen at minute 43 to minute 47.  Those four minutes blew my mind.  The US Dept. of Education’s representative, Dr. Harris, nervously skirts having to directly answer the question, at first, of how many databases it holds.  It admits to three.  The chairman says that it has at least 123, but if you count all of the data  contractors, there are countless more.  The only way that the Dept. of Education can say it only has three is by pretending that it is not responsible for, or does not subcontract out, the service, the questioner points out.  And those high numbers of organizations collecting data for the US Dept. of Education mean a high probability that data will be compromised.

Meanwhile, most people believe that student data remains with the teacher and principal; those who do know that there’s a state/federal database believe that it’s a good thing; and they tell me  that my opposition to permitting databases to stalk our kids is baseless, that the Utah State Office of Education does not release individual students’ information and that nonconsensual student data mining could never have a down side.

 

4 responses to “Utah Rep Jason Chaffetz on Dept. of Ed Data Mining: “It has become an absolute monster”

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  1. Oh man! 48:38 for one minute. The penetration testers obtained *full* access with complete stealth!

    When will people learn what software engineers already know — data security is a myth! The game of cyber-security is to make it cost more to get the data than the data is worth. Now question, just how much is the life-long educational and other pii data of every student in the nation worth? Yeah… good luck. The only security is to *not* store it!

    • Is not storing data the solution that software engineers have adopted in other industries? If software engineers know that data security is a myth, then do we have examples from other industries of decisions to not store data?

  2. (He doesn’t mention this, but each state’s SLDS system gathers and feeds data from your child’s schoolwork to the state to the feds, too; for example, via the EdFacts Data Exchange.)

    What information about children’s schoolwork is being sent? EdFacts is not set up for granularity at the individual level. The lowest level of granularity stored in EdFacts is the school level.

  3. Pingback: Alert – Protect Children’s Privacy: UT Legislature MUST Support HB0358 | COMMON CORE

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