You’ve probably seen the news stories about contentious school board meetings and disagreements between teachers, administrators and parents over the content of curriculum.
While these are important issues, there is an aspect to these stories that you may have overlooked amidst all the politics – the fact that private companies are collecting personal information about your children without your consent.
How could this happen, when there are laws against it like the Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act? According to one account, personal student data is sent to a company under a loophole that circumvents a requirement for parental consent by counting the for-profit company as a “school official,” not an outside vendor.
This is yet another example of personal information not being treated like the valuable commodity it is. The companies that collect it certainly understand its value when they sell it to advertisers. But when it is your child’s information, you need to recognize that this content can also end up online, where it can be sold, or accessed by anyone interested in finding out more about your child – and by extension, his or her parents.
The information collected by these companies can be used to obtain your social security number, credit card numbers, bank account information, and other private data that can impact your finances and even your personal safety.
What Can You Do?
First, be aware that this is happening. Ask your children if they are filling out questionnaires in school that ask for personal information. If so, you may want to contact the school and request the option to no longer participate in these activities. If you are a California resident, you can contact the school and request that this information no longer be shared; you can also contact the company that may have received it already and have that information deleted.
But if it’s too late, the next best option is to make sure the information derived from these programs is removed from the internet.
For ten years, 360Civic has been at the forefront of enforcing the laws meant to protect your private information. We use our proprietary IronWall360 technology to scan the internet every day, and when we find the address or phone number of someone under our protection, we make sure the website removes that content. It’s not a request – we don’t give them a choice.
We have found and removed more than 1 million listings of addresses and phone numbers for those enrolled in our program, including judges and police officers.
Is your child’s information online now? We can run a free, no-obligation privacy report on you or your child to find out.