Category Archives: Creepy Stuff

College Students Question the “Safety” of SafeConnect

SafeConnect 0

College Students Question the “Safety” of SafeConnect

SafeConnect, owned by Impulse Point, LLC is a university network system utilized across the nation and in Minnesota.  In order for students to connect to the internet while on campus, students log on to the SafeConnect system.   So what’s the problem?

In working with SafeConnect, students are reporting that the system gives full administrative control over a student’s personal computer to software developed by a company called Impulse Point.  This means that Impulse Point, if prompted by government, could covertly and remotely turn on a student’s webcam, access all documents and files on a student’s computer, and modify or delete any piece of information on the student’s computer.  Although Impulse Point claims not to be used for these purposes, the fact that it has the capability to take these actions should be concerning, particularly in light of published Snowden documents.

Impulse Point runs additional programs like Identity Connect.  http://www.impulse.com/identityconnect/  Impulse Point appears as a “TierOne Partner” with VistaOne.  https://www.vistaone.com/amx/impulse-point-safeconnect/  VistaOne has a number of partner companies including Riverbed, Palo Alto, Procera,  and Synergy.  https://www.vistaone.com/amx/tierone-partners/

Students and professors across the US are beginning to look into programs, such as Cisco Clean Access, SafeConnect and others.   These companies are employed by universities to satisfy the legislative mandates of securing a private network for their college.

In 2004, all universities in the United States were required to maintain a private Internet network under the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act.   Additionally, the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 set forth guidelines making it necessary for all schools to “combat unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials via illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property,” as a condition of obtaining Federal Pell Grants for students and participating in other federal financial aid programs.  http://www2.ed.gov/policy/highered/leg/hea08/index.html

To understand the scope of colleges and universities using SafeConnect within the last three years, the following schools came up on a simple search within that time frame:  Inver Grove Heights Community College, MN; Augsburg College, Minneapolis; Coastal California University, Yeshiva University, NYC; Sacramento State; University of New Haven; University of Nebraska-Lincoln, La Salle University, University of California – San Diego and Santa Cruz; University of Missouri – Kansas City; Presbyterian College, SC; University of North Florida, American University, Georgetown University, University of North Dakota, and Boston University are using SafeConnect to secure private network and fulfill legislative mandates.  No doubt there are many other colleges who employ SafeConnect.

According to the SafeConnect site, “SafeConnect acts as a gatekeeper to the university’s Internet network.  Any user who tries to access the New School network must first pass a security check — a log-in page asking for the user’s New School ID.   Network access controls allow large networks that serve many users and devices to set rules about who can and cannot log on. Before SafeConnect green-lights a user onto the information super-highway, the program runs a check to see if his or her device has installed current anti-virus software or up-to-date security patches.”

The New School Network, New York City.  http://www.newschool.edu/information-technology/wireless-network/

Recently, students at Augsburg College in Minneapolis authored a petition against SafeConnect, a university internet network system utilized in universities across the nation and in Minnesota.

SafeConnect Petition

Students of Augsburg Against SafeConnect  state that SafeConnect is a program that runs at full administrative privileges, under the SYSTEM account, meaning it can do anything the operating system can do.  Students and faculty have signed the petition.

SafeConnect 1

SafeConnect 2

SafeConnect 3

SafeConnect 4In In In       “Safe”Connect Part II:  We’ll take a look a closer look at how the program actually works and remotely takes over one’s computer.

SafeConnect appears to be a program designed for covert remote access to a student’s personal computer.  Should universities and colleges be able to install spyware/remote access tools on a student’s personal computer?   Students have a right to privacy regarding their own personal property and particularly in a university setting where many students live on campus.  
Students, Take Note!

 

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White House Announces Transition to Openly Licensed Education Resources for Schools

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White House Announces Transition to Openly Licensed Education Resources for Schools
 The White House announces the Federal Government is to *begin to model the transition to openly licensed educational materials at scale in U.S. K-12 schools. We look forward to engaging with the national and global community to identify opportunities for open licensing to accelerate educational equity for all learners regardless of their financial situations or geographic locations.* This is aligned to Article 26 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.
Is this the move toward a national and/or international curriculum?  What could go wrong?
Reposted from Missouri Education Watchdog

Openly Licensed Educational Resources: Providing Equitable Access to Education for All Learners

by Gretchen Logue

Summary:  The Federal government is supporting the use of open educational resources to provide equitable access to quality education.

Everyone has the right to education…Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace. —Article 26 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights

Access to quality education is an essential component of addressing many of our biggest global and societal challenges. Last year, the United Nations surveyed youth around the world about their priorities—what opportunities they want to be offered. More than improvements in electricity and infrastructure, healthcare, and better jobs, what young people asked for was a good education. It’s no surprise that young people value education. World Bank economists estimate that for every year of study, individual income increases by 10-15 percent. These increases don’t just affect individuals; they often generate a “ripple effect” of benefits to families and entire communities. Openly licensed learning resources, also known as open educational resources (OER), can increase access to high-quality education opportunities and reduce the cost of education around the world.

On September 28, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, U.S. Department of Education, and U.S. Department of State co-hosted an International Open Education Workshop, bringing together 40 civil society and foreign government participants from eight countries to examine existing open education efforts and identify opportunities for future collaboration between government and civil society. This workshop is one of several open education commitments made as part of the second U.S. Open Government Partnership National Action Plan.

At the workshop, participants shared examples of ways that openly licensed educational materials are being used to solve local education challenges around the world. For example, one participant shared open-source tools that enable offline access to openly licensed educational videos — technology that has supported education for Syrian refugees, inmates in U.S. correctional facilities, and over 2 million other learners from around the world. Open licenses grant anyone the rights to revise, remix, and redistribute these educational materials, so investments in content or tools made by one organization or government can be leveraged by other institutions and used in new ways.

Another participant, drawing on her recent experience serving as a Foreign Service Officer in the Balkans, noted the potential for openly licensed educational materials to honor local knowledge and information needs. In particular, she described how an open-source model could empower educators to collaborate on and adapt textbooks across local and international borders, retaining fundamental content while tailoring certain features, like names in math word problems, to reflect students’ ethnic diversity and culture.  Empowering local communities to adapt, translate, and create collections of learning materials that meet their information, learning, or language needs helps side-step assumptions and honor learners’ lived experiences.

Open education advances key national priorities, including supporting shared economic prosperity, strengthening civil society, and investing in human development. Over the next year, the U.S. Government will continue efforts to expand and accelerate the use and availability of openly licensed educational materials worldwide. In addition, we will begin to model the transition to openly licensed educational materials at scale in U.S. K-12 schools.  We look forward to engaging with the national and global community to identify opportunities for open licensing to accelerate educational equity for all learners regardless of their financial situations or geographic locations.

Richard Culatta is Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education.

Sunshine Ison is Director of the ECA Collaboratory at the U.S. Department of State.

Nancy Weiss is Senior Advisor to the Chief Technology Officer at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Minnesota School Steps in Without Parental Consent, Violating HIPAA, Student Lands in Hospital. The Consequences of Unregulated Data

Child in Hospital Minnesota Article

Minnesota School Steps in Without Parental Consent, Violating HIPAA, Student Lands in Hospital.

MACC is outraged with the illegalities of adopting the Common Core Standards in Minnesota and around the nation.   Parents and Citizens have taken great offense to a one-size-fits-all curriculum and over testing. We want to make it clear however that MACC is equally concerned with data flowing unregulated from state agency to agency and between schools and medical facilities. This is an instance where a parent’s right to make medical decisions for their own child has been crossed.  Thanks to JMLmom!

The Consequences of Unregulated Data

By JMLmom

When we send our children to school we all have this private notion that our children are safe. For the most part this may be true, however things are changing. FERPA (Family Education Rights Protection Act) used to protect our children and families personally identifiable information. The US Department of Education unilaterally changed that to where anyone with an educational interest can now access our children’s and our family’s information.

So what happens when we have to share our student’s medical records with the schools? The following words are from a parent who knows firsthand the devastation of what can happen when your child’s medical records are compromised due to their school’s maltreatment of the child’s information. Mind you this comes from a family with special needs children in a Minnesota School District, as many of us do.

“Many people aren’t concerned about it until they’re burned. Most people are still under the false impression that schools follow HIPAA (Health Information Portability and Accountability Act). They do not. The only part of a school that *may* follow HIPAA is the medical biller, if filed electronically. All other records fall under FERPA and have no enforcement for violations. Please be aware and cautious with shared data to your school districts. They may not be as careful with your child’s data as you are.

We also provide necessary medical records directly, and have permission for contact with the Primary Care Provider only – whom I trust implicitly, and knows our history of privacy issues and schools trying to change our children’s orders without parental consent for their convenience and not our child’s benefit. This allows contact with a medical provider in an emergency, a local ER, yet a block to too much information filtering through and changes that we do not want. He also notifies us when school is making strange requests and I can have a meeting to find out what the problem is and go from there

Our school used the medical releases to contact the specialists independently and try to change medical orders without parent consent. They then contacted our DME, which they obtained info off the feeding pump, and tried getting orders changed that route. It didn’t work but did violate HIPAA for both the clinic and DME contacted. This affected many families in this group at the time as new notices had to be made and sent as a result and permissions obtained.

They then decided to change orders with no consent and harmed our child. Our child ended up very ill and required surgical repair as a result. To recover, our child missed three months of school.

With our other child, they contacted our nursing agency and falsely billed nursing hours under their waiver. This was also a HIPAA violation for both entities and Medicaid Fraud. It cost her waiver $75,000.

I was accused of mismanaging funds before we found out where they were disappearing. The school’s punishment? They had to pay it back and write a letter describing what happened and how it wouldn’t happen again. The nursing agency’s punishment? None.

This had nothing to do with specifics and everything to do with not following the law. The school didn’t want to feed our child properly. They thought a feeding tube was an inconvenience. They thought my other child’s nursing expense was our problem. So they decided they weren’t going to deal with them. It was a school attitude problem.”

We are thankful for this parent sharing their story and that their children are ok today, as it very well could have turned out with a much different outcome. This was just one family’s experience with their children’s medical information being misused. Our children’s information, whether medical or personally identifiable (PII) should be of the utmost importance of our schools to protect. And should not be used to cause a child harm. We as parents must be vigilant about making sure that we are protecting our children’s information, once it crosses the line from HIPAA to FERPA, a new ball game and new set of rules takes hold. And it is not always for the benefit of the child or family.
http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/index.html

http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html

 

 

MACC DAY AT THE CAPITOL 2015

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MACC Day at the Capitol 2015

Thursday, April 9, 2015 

Rally: 9:00am Upper Mall Steps of the Capitol
Meeting: 10:10am  State Office Building Rm 400N

TIMELINE:
9:00am – 10:00am Rally Capitol Steps
(Bring your Rally posters or MACC yard signs)

10:10am Check-in/Welcome table State Office Bldg
Name Tags – MACC Buttons

10:20am – 11:30am Speakers including:
Senator Roger Chamberlain
Rep. Jim Davnie
Rep. Sondra Erickson
Rep. Jason Isaacson                                                                                                     Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer

Rep. Eric Lucero

Rep. Jim Nash

Rep. Dennis Smith

MACC leadership speaking on MACC’s vision in growing the grassroots, working with our legislature and the mission of our school groups.

Brief explanation of how we will visit with legislators.

11:30am Bag lunch (bring your own lunch) or Eat in the Cafeteria

12:00pm Visit your legislators / education committee

1:00pm Rm 400N clear

Parking is best in the Department of Transportation/State Office Building parking lot.

http://mn.gov/admin/images/capitolvisitor.pdf

MN.GOV