Court upholds teen's privacy

(Mar 16, 2018) A recent ruling by U.S. Circuit Judge Barbara Milano Keenan sided with a Virginia teen, finding that the police had violated his right to privacy when gathering evidence in the case, Courthouse News Service reports. In her 29-page opinion, Judge Keenan wrote, “A reasonable police officer would have known that attempting to obtain a [sensitive] photograph of a minor ... in the presence of others, would unlawfully invade the child’s right of privacy.” Keenan added that the detective in charge “aff... Read More

US Department of Education’s CPO reassigned

(Mar 15, 2018) The U.S. Department of Education’s current chief privacy officer, Kathleen Styles, CIPP/G, has been reassigned, Education Week reports. Styles will no longer serve as the CPO starting April 1, and the department currently has no plans to find a replacement. Department Spokeswoman Elizabeth Hill said U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will not eliminate the CPO, but no further plans for the position have been announced. "Under Kathleen's direction, the department has provided concrete, understa... Read More

FL Virtual School suffers data breach affecting 50K students, teachers

(Mar 13, 2018) Florida Virtual School suffered a data breach affecting more than 50,000 students and teachers from Leon County Schools, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. District officials said the data was taken off an unsecured server belonging to the Virtual School. The stolen information included student records and teachers' Social Security numbers. While the breach allegedly took place last year, the information stolen may date back to 2013. Superintendent Rocky Hanna criticized the Virtual School's fail... Read More

Facebook added 'kid-friendly effects' to encourage use among children

(Mar 2, 2018) Speaking to an audience at Facebook’s Global Safety Network Summit, the manager responsible for building Messenger Kids, Tarunya Govindarajan, said it took nudging to encourage children to use the mobile app during the testing stage, CNBC reports. To do so, Govindarajan said targeted “kid-friendly effects” were installed into the product to promote use. Despite findings from the company’s consulted experts, which concluded children were ready to use such a service, concerns have been raised that... Read More

New feature aims to block minors from sexting

(Feb 27, 2018) Gizmodo reports on a new anti-sexting feature, designed to filter inappropriate messages from reaching children’s phones. While it is not currently available, U.K. startup SafeToNet has plans to roll out the new feature as part of a subscription plan for customers in April. The app is designed to identify inappropriate content, censor it, then lock the phone “for up to 20 minutes” to prevent a user from responding. According to SafeToNet, the app uses artificial intelligence and machine learning... Read More

Report: State boards must strike balance with personalized learning, privacy

(Feb 16, 2018) A report from the National Association of State Boards of Education found that, although school privacy policies can often conflict with personalized learning, it is up to state policymakers to develop laws and policies that harmonize a balance between the two, EdScoop reports. In the report, authors state that “good student data privacy policies recognize the potential for personalized learning to accelerate student achievement while also guaranteeing safe, secure access to a predetermined, tra... Read More

OPC offers funding to promote privacy research

(Feb 16, 2018) The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada unveiled two organizations will receive funding to help promote privacy research. The OPC will back a project from Option consommateurs, which will be releasing a series of YouTube videos in both English and French to educate young Canadian citizens on online privacy issues. The other organization, Coopérative radiophonique de Toronto, will produce a series of radio segments and podcasts to go over the results of OPC research for its listeners. Th... Read More

Talent company agrees to pay $235K to settle FTC COPPA violations

(Feb 6, 2018) Prime Sites Inc. has agreed to pay $235,000 to settle Federal Trade Commission charges it allegedly violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. The company, operating under its Explore Talent brand, marketed itself to young actors searching for audition opportunities. The FTC alleged Prime Sites violated COPPA by collecting and disclosing children’s personal information, such as their names, email addresses and telephone numbers, without obtaining parental consent. The company was acc... Read More

Study: State and local school websites among the most vulnerable

(Feb 6, 2018) A study by EdTech Strategies found that state education departments and local school systems are among the most vulnerable websites, with many failing to implement the HTTPS protocol, EdScoop reports. The report found that 49 of 51 states and 158 of 159 school systems used tracking software to compile user data and employ targeted advertising. When reviewed in comparison to the state education departments’ and school systems’ privacy policies, such tracking was found to be in violation of their ... Read More

Podcast: She's where video games, policy and passion collide

(Feb 2, 2018) Whitney Merrill, CIPP/US, exudes a rare passion for what she does. She is privacy, e-commerce and consumer protection counsel at Electronic Arts, and she was recently named one the 2017 Top Women in Cybersecurity. Before that, she did a stint at the Federal Trade Commission as part of a National Science Foundation program, and Merrill also runs the Crypto and Privacy Village each year at DEFCON, for which she's working hard to up the number of women represented there. In this episode of the podc... Read More