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Privacy Primer for Educators. Melissa Dark Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS) Purdue University [email protected] What is Privacy?.

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privacy primer for educators

Privacy Primer for Educators

Melissa Dark

Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS)

Purdue University

[email protected]

what is privacy
What is Privacy?
  • The ability to control the degree to which people and institutions impinge upon one’s life.
      • Hildreth & Hoyt, 1981
  • The right claimed by an individual to control the disclosure of personal information about themselves.
      • Adams, 2000
Describe your privacy expectations of your:
          • Bank
          • Doctor
          • Government Officials
          • Clergy
  • Do we expect this same level of professionalism from our schools?
Junk Mail
  • Phone Calls From Telemarketers
  • Online Surveys
  • E-Mail SPAM
  • Grocery Savings Cards
  • Security Cameras
  • Cell Phone Tampering
  • Phone Logs
  • Workplace Surveillance

What is the common factor that unites these items?

Personal privacy in jeopardy.

is privacy really that important
Is privacy really that important?
  • In 1993, MacWorld launched an investigation surrounding the ability of unauthorized users to obtain information from celebrities.
  • This information was all obtained in a legal and ethical manner.
for 112 per celebrity they found
For $112 per celebrity....they found:

Through online solicitation and searches, the editors were able to obtain the following information on individuals:

(CQ Researcher, 1993).

collection of children s information
Collection of Children’s Information
  • 1999 Survey: 16 million children ---14% of US citizens under the age of 18 regularly use the Internet. (1999)
  • Study conducted by Cai and Gantz (2000) indicated that the majority of Web sites targeted at children collect personal information from their under-age users.
  • Children also readily provide personal data in return for a “great prize” (Carlson, 2000)
why is privacy important for teachers
Why is Privacy Important for Teachers?
  • Federal law mandates that teachers protect the information they gather and record regarding their students (National Center for Education Statistics, 1998).
        • FERPA
        • COPPA
        • Supreme Court Decisions
  • Failure to do so could result in personal and professional liability.
privacy practices common law
Privacy Practices—Common Law
  • Information should not be conveyed to other teachers/administrators unless the motive is to enhance performance.
  • Pupil information should be transmitted only upon request.
  • Records should be released only if there is a statutory requirement or the pupil/parents request the release.
privacy legislation for educators
Privacy Legislation for Educators
  • Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act , 1974 (FERPA):
    • Requires that educators demonstrate “due diligence” in protecting student data, information, records, and other sensitive information.
    • Teachers can be personally held liable for failing to maintain the integrity of such data.
  • Parents/guardians have a right to inspect all records.
  • Record of access maintained regarding individuals examining the files.
  • Appeals to contents are permitted.
  • Records must be kept confidential—no release unless there is permission.
    • Birth date, address, ss#, grades, test results, discipline records, attendance, health records, pictures, etc.
unique challenge of e mail and electronic documents
Unique Challenge of E-Mail and Electronic Documents
  • Teachers must demonstrate “due diligence” in protecting ALL records.
  • Vulnerabilities:
    • Open Network Connections
    • Poor Password Selection/Protocol
    • Lack of Encryption
    • “naked” e-Mail
encryption enciphering sensitive information
Encryption(Enciphering sensitive information)
  • Encoding information
    • Secret Code Ring
    • Cryptoquip
    • Pig Latin
  • *Most* common applications offer password protection.
  • Confidential (not critical)---USE ENCRYPTION!!!!
  • NEVER send HIGHLY SENSITIVE information through email. (email should *never* be considered secure!)

PGP: Pretty Good Privacy

(approx. $20 per unit)

Requires use of Public Keys

Sample PGP encrypted email:


Without the proper keys...

the message is unreadable.


Password Protecting Windows Documents

  • File / Save As
  • Click on TOOLS
  • Enter passwords
practical privacy techniques for teachers
Practical Privacy Techniques for Teachers:
  • Practice Proper Information Security Techniques
  • E-Mail Awareness
  • Use of Encryption
  • Download Precautions
  • Close the Cookie Jar
  • Read Privacy Statements
  • Set up a Second Online Account
dissemination of privacy practices to students
Dissemination of Privacy Practices to Students:
  • Fundamentals of protecting privacy is a “new” skill that schools should address
      • (Willard, 2000)
  • Privacy issues need to be embedded within the curriculum as readily as technical skills
      • (FTC, 2001)
  • Short lessons and natural teaching moments work well for identifying the topic.
  • Teachers must serve as a role model for privacy protection practices.
  • As technology is introduced into schools, it is critical to combine the technical skills with the soft (ethical) skills surrounding the media.
  • Attention needs to given to both teachers and students upon this topic.
  • Teachers must practice privacy techniques daily---to protect the information and serve as a positive role model.
excellent resources
Excellent Resources:
  • Stealth Surfing by Matt Lake:,aid,16350,00.asp

  • Follett Software Company: Privacy Sites:

  • Make Your PC Hacker Proof by Jeff Sengstack:,aid,17759,00.asp