Monday, July 21, 2014

Parts of two long (and interesting) articles. Looks like ignorance of the law is a defense for “educators.”
From EPIC:
EPIC has obtained documents from the Department of Education detailing parent and student complaints about the misuse of educational records. The Department released the documents in response to an EPIC Freedom of Information Act request. The documents reveal that schools and districts have disclosed students’ personal records without consent, possibly in violation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. The documents also reveal that the Department failed to investigate many FERPA complaints. EPIC is expecting to receive more documents about the agency’s enforcement of the federal student privacy law. For more information, see EPIC: Student Privacy and EPIC: Open Government.
Having read through all the files EPIC shared, I think it would be more accurate to say that the Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO) decided that no investigation was warranted in the vast majority of the complaints due to some common misunderstandings about what rights FERPA provides.

(Related) Also lloks like “educators” can't (or like students, don't bother to) read. TL;DR?
Over on, I’ve recapped the U.S. Education Department’s responses to privacy complaints filed by parent and students under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). In going through the data provided to EPIC in response to their Freedom of Information Act request, I noted that in a few cases, the Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO) either responded to an inquiry about a data breach or reached out to university or school to offer technical assistance to help them comply with FERPA if they had had a data breach.
Here is part of their boilerplate response in 2011 to an entity that had experienced a breach involving missing folders with education records:
The preamble to the December 8, 2009, FERPA regulations explains the necessity for educational agencies and institutions to ensure that adequate controls are in place so that the education records of all students are handled in accordance with FERPA’s privacy protections.

Laws follow technology like shovels follow a snow storm.
Consumer Cloud Robotics and the Fair Information Practice Principles
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Jul 20, 2014
Proia, Andrew A. and Simshaw, Drew and Hauser, Kris, Consumer Cloud Robotics and the Fair Information Practice Principles: Recognizing the Challenges and Opportunities Ahead (2014). Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology, Forthcoming. Available for download at SSRN:
Rapid technological innovation has made commercially accessible consumer robotics a reality. At the same time, individuals and organizations are turning to “the cloud” for more convenient and cost effective data storage and management. It seemed only inevitable that these two technologies would merge to create cloud robotics, “a new approach to robotics that takes advantage of the Internet as a resource for massively parallel computation and sharing of vast data resources.” By making robots lighter, cheaper, and more efficient, cloud robotics could be the catalyst for a mainstream consumer robotics marketplace. However, this new industry would join a host of modern consumer technologies that seem to have rapidly outpaced the legal and regulatory regimes implemented to protect consumers. Recently, consumer advocates and the tech industry have focused their attention on information privacy and security, and how to establish sufficient safeguards for the collection, retention, and dissemination of personal information while still allowing technologies to flourish. Underlying a majority of these proposals are a set of practices that address how personal information should be collected, used, retained, managed, and deleted, known as the Fair Information Practice Principles (“FIPPs”). This Article examines recent frameworks which articulate how to apply the FIPPs in a consumer setting, and dissects how these frameworks may affect the emergence of cloud-enabled domestic robots. By considering practical observations of how cloud robotics may emerge in a consumer marketplace regulated by the FIPPs, this research will help both the information privacy and robotics fields in beginning to address privacy and security challenges from a law and policy perspective, while also fostering collaboration between roboticists and privacy professionals alike.”

Marcus Zillman's lists are always large and complete.
New on LLRX – Information Quality Resources
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Jul 20, 2014
Via - Information Quality Resources - Marcus P. Zillman’s guide focuses on the increasingly important topic of identifying reliable and actionable Information resources on the internet, a task specifically critical for researchers in all sectors. With the proliferation of non attributable, un-vetted, un-sourced information churning 24/7 through a spectrum of social media sites, getting it right takes time and skill, but is well worth the effort.

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