Data Practices and Security, House Education Policy Committee Hearing Testimony, 2.25.2016 – Chris Daniels

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Data Practices and Security, House Education Policy Committee Hearing Testimony, 2.25.2016 – Chris Daniels

Many thanks to Chris Daniels who testified about intrusive data collection in our schools and the need for administering Tennessen Warnings prior to the administration of surveys, screeners, questionnaires, testings and other data collection tools.

Chris Daniels:

Thank you madam chair and members of the committee.  I am here to discuss a troubling and dangerous practice that is occurring in our education system regarding the lack of parental notification for 3rd party surveys as data collection tools utilized by our school systems.

Many years ago, when I was in school, there was no question that if I was reprimanded in school, and my parents found out about it, they would ask what I did wrong and side with the teacher.  My parents trusted that the teacher and the school had my best interest in mind, and respected the teacher’s authority to punish my poor behavior.

These many years later, we hear about a lot of cases where the teachers are now blamed by the parents when a student gets reprimanded for poor behavior.  Yet, the teachers are still trusted to inform and shape those children’s lives through education.  That trust extends to curriculum and testing, and another areas that parents may or may not know about, including 3rd party surveys.  Many 3rd party surveys have been given with implied consent, which does not following Minnesota law.

Through this trust, many less than savory liberties have been taken to access intricate and private information from the students and their families.  Unless the parent, parents or guardian are directly informed, or are knowledgeable about their rights, these intrusions can and have come on a daily or weekly basis in Minnesota.

MACC realizes that the family structure, and assigning of responsibility for misbehavior, may have changed over the years.  However, we ask that this this should not result in a view of contempt for the parents or guardians responsible for children in the school system, especially considering these are minors being affected.

The Tennesson warning states:

The government must give individuals notice when collecting private or confidential information from them. This is referred to as a “Tennessen warning notice.” Government may also call it a “privacy notice,” a “notice of collection of private/confidential data,” or something similar. The purpose of the notice is to enable people to make informed decisions about whether to give information about themselves to the government. (See Minnesota Statutes, for 3rd .)

Search for Tennesson on Bing or Google and you receive 28,700 results.  Yet, according to data privacy experts in Minnesota, it is said that the legal representation for our school districts have told them to ignore it.   So parents, by putting implicit trust in our education system, are having simple and essential parental rights circumvented and voided.

Star Wars, and other movies, warn parents of the appropriate age of children should be that should attend movies.  Parental Advisory labels warn us of music not appropriate for young listeners.  Yet, our children are subject to intrusive surveys and school apps, like Class Dojo, that in effect steal specifically targeted personal and personally identifiable information on a daily basis.  And unfortunately this is viewed simply as part of the daily operation in the current education system.

Were any in this chamber worried about your personal information being utilized by someone looking to profit from your identity when Target was hacked?  When Home Depot was hacked?  Did you know that UPS, SuperValu/Cub, Starbucks, CVS and Neiman Marcus, Hilton Hotels, and many, many others have been hacked?  Yet, we are consistently put our children’s data at risk, many times without knowing where it goes or what it is used for.  Why are we more concerned about our data than our children’s?  Most parents are not aware of the violation of trust, and the data consumption by the schools, and by default the State, and by default the Federal Government?  According to the Tennesson warning notice, they should be.  The question is, why is the basic right of privacy for underage child being blatantly ignored?

This is why we feel that the Survey and Parental Disclosure bill, that MACC is helping to support, is a necessity for passage in the committees and in the omnibus bill for this session.  It is essential we don’t further undermine the value and rights of the parents and guardians that have already been strained.