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

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Privacy primer for educators l.jpg

Privacy Primer for Educators

Melissa Dark

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

Purdue University

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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

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  • Do we expect this same level of professionalism from our schools?

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    • 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.

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    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 l.jpg
    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).

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    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)

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    • 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.

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    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

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    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!)

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    PGP: Pretty Good Privacy

    (approx. $20 per unit)

    Requires use of Public Keys

    Sample PGP encrypted email:

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    Without the proper keys...

    the message is unreadable.

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    Password Protecting Windows Documents

    • File / Save As

    • Click on TOOLS


    • Enter passwords

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    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

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    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.

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    • 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.

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    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