School data collection needs limits

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Almost every day there is a new revelation regarding a data breach by a store, a corporation or even our own government. From the earliest days of the technological revolution, and by that I mean the invention of photography, legal scholars have debated whether there is a constitutional right to privacy.

Similar to the Facebook issues of today, original privacy concerns surrounded the unauthorized use of a photograph of a young socialite on a 5-pound bag of flour. As innocent as posting photos for your friends to see or finding your photo on cake flour, lengthy debates ensued regarding what is the appropriate balance when it comes to our private data, personal information and, of course, our images.

Courts have long recognized a right to privacy in America, especially as it relates to our home, our personal space and very private information, such as medical records. Today, the Internet, peer-to-peer sharing and various social networks have blurred where privacy begins and ends. Many argue that the “free” Internet will only remain free if the various parts of the ecosystem can find creative ways to monetize the information that we eagerly post. However, no matter what your viewpoint as an adult, we must realize that children and their data must be treated differently. This is nothing new: TV advertising, sales of mature content and even the fundamental right to free speech are all subject to more stringent government oversight as they relate to children.

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