Thursday, August 13, 2015

Google is a Model for Student Privacy and Security

January 1, 2016 a new law in New Hampshire (NH-HB520) will take affect concerning student online personal information.  This is great news for all of us concerned about the distribution and sale of student information.   Unfortunately, there are 'agencies' who are misinforming school administrators about this legislation in regards to using Google Apps for Education.

I have had a few colleagues contact me asking if they 'have to' discontinue their use Google Apps for Education.   ABSOLUTELY NOT!  

Fact #1:  NH-HB520 does not reference Google Apps for Education AT ALL.  See the final version and use CTRL+F to search for the word Google.  It is not there.

Fact #2:  The law prohibits the 'operator' (aka provider of services) to use, sell, or disclose student information and generating targeted advertisements.  Google Apps for Education is the poster child for privacy and security.  Google Apps for Education has very strict policies governing the use of student information. See below and refer to https://www.google.com/edu/trust/ for complete information. 
"We don’t sell your Google Apps for Education data to third parties and we do not share personal information placed in our systems with third parties, except in the few exceptional circumstances described in your Google Apps agreement and our Privacy Policy, such as when you ask us to share it or when we are required to do so by law.
For full details, please refer to your Google Apps agreement and the "Information Sharing" section of our Privacy Policy." 
"There are no ads in Google Apps for Education services..."  In fact, K12 Google Apps for Education users do not see ads when they use Google Search and are signed into their Apps for Education accounts."
Fact #3:  Google has signed the Student Privacy Pledge which is endorsed by President Obama.  

There is a lot more to the law and a lot more to Google Privacy and Security disclosures so certainly one could psycho analyze every detail to see if they can find a flaw.  

However, the motives and credibility of anyone who intimates, that as a result of this new law, school districts should discontinue the use of Google Apps for Education should be questioned.   (I won't mention the strong presence of MS lobbyists in Concord...)

Google Apps for Education has had a tremendous impact on how students learn, communicate, collaborate and engage in their learning journey.   After working in technology in education for almost 20 years I can say that there is not one single product or solution that has had a more positive affect on student and teacher engagement, productivity, communication and information literacy than what Google Apps for Education has done.    There are literally hundreds of thousands of teachers online every day sharing and helping each other be innovative in their approaches to working with students and being 'better' because of it.

With over 40 million Google Apps for Education users world ~ wide (public schools, private schools, higher education) and countless states/government agencies converting to Google Apps because of 'security' reasons we should be skeptical of anyone who suggests our students shouldn't be using it.  




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