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Parents Mobilize Against States' Student Data Mining 139

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can-trust-us dept.
theodp writes 'Politico reports that parents have mobilized into an unexpected political force to fight the data mining of their children, catapulting student privacy to prominence in statehouses. Having already torpedoed the $100 million, Bill Gates-funded inBloom database project, which could have made it easier for schools to share confidential student records with private companies, the amateur activists are now rallying against another perceived threat: huge state databases being built to track children for more than two decades, from as early as infancy through the start of their careers. "The Education Department," writes Stephanie Simon, "lists hundreds of questions that it urges states to answer about each child in the public school system: Did she make friends easily as a toddler? Was he disciplined for fighting as a teen? Did he take geometry? Does she suffer from mental illness? Did he go to college? Did he graduate? How much does he earn?" Leonie Haimson, a NY mother who is organizing a national Parent Coalition for Student Privacy says, "Every parent I've talked to has been horrified. We just don't want our kids tracked from cradle to grave." For their part, ed tech entrepreneurs and school reformers are both bewildered by and anxious about the backlash — and struggling to craft a response, having assumed parents would support their vision: to mine vast quantities of data for insights into what's working, and what's not, for individual students and for the education system as a whole. "People took for granted that parents would understand [the benefits], that it was self-evident," said Michael Horn, a co-founder an education think tank."
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Parents Mobilize Against States' Student Data Mining

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  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by i kan reed (749298) on Friday June 06, 2014 @04:00PM (#47182953) Homepage Journal

    Facebook's evil laughter as their monopoly on distributing childrens' personal information becomes secure from local governments inadvertent competition. Elsewhere a "marketing expert" begins the process to pony up an extra half-cent per human being whose privacy is permanently and irrevocably destroyed.

    • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PopeRatzo (965947) on Friday June 06, 2014 @04:19PM (#47183139) Homepage Journal

      Damn right it's good. It's high time parents started ripping out the Surveillance State infrastructure by the roots before their kids find themselves in a world without privacy.

      There's no issue more important than this. Ubiquitous surveillance impacts negatively on every other important issue. Economy? You will never have broad-based prosperity in a surveillance state. Health care? It's obvious. Education. Read TFA.

      The explosion of intrusion over the past decade has completely transformed me politically. We've got individual privacy eroding at an accelerated pace and institutional secrecy doing the same. That's a really bad trend.

      There can be no free society among people who are being watched.

      • There can be no free society among people who are being watched.

        I'd contest that in theory, but with the current ability we have to build in protections into a government against abuse, in practice it's absolutely true.

        I just also think that the corporate interests at play here cause substantial harm too.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          A corporation is formed when someone pays the government for access to a special legal system. There is no "too".

      • Can you give a general description of the political transformation you have gone through?
        Basically, what were your politics as a teenager, college age or early jobs, before or after 9/11, and now.

        I don't mean anything personally detailed, but the highpoints that have changed.

        (And I promise I'm not asking to find something to attack you on. I'm genuinely interested in these things.)

        • by PopeRatzo (965947)

          The main change is in my priorities. I believed that the first priority was to strengthen the middle class, get more bargaining power to workers and get back to broad-based prosperity of the 1950s and '60s.

          I still want to see that but now there's nothing more important than rolling back the surveillance state. Public and private. All the other social problems can never improve if we have eroded civil rights.

          Surveillance (public OR private, I have to keep emphasizing that) is a tool of upward redistributi

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        However, there can be very little in the way of social science research without watching people as well. The problem here lies with a current rash of new stories about privacy intrusion so that everyone is now nervous about anything remotely related to it. Ten years ago I suspect parents would not have strongly objected to such a program, but today it's considered suspicious. Even if there were very high safeguards in place to protect individual privacy people don't want to get anywhere near it. So it's

        • The feedback loop can be closer than 'data' being gathered by giant bureaucracies and then directives sent down to the teachers in the schools. For instance, good teachers can pay attention to the specific children they are charged with teaching. Which happens a lot, let's not cut down the good effort our teachers make. The feedback loop should be at a micro scale, not a macro scale. Politicians shouldn't be in the loop at all, unless by 'politicians' it is meant elected School Board Members.

        • by sjames (1099)

          Parents today were in school when the problem of corporate intrusion was getting started. They saw first hand that when a corporation reaches for it's wallet the school board will be on their backs with legs spread before the john even gets the money out.

          They know that today's private school records can easily become tomorrow's corporate asset. The law provides no protection and even if it did, the courts would bend over backwards and twist it into a pretzel to make the sale happen anyway. The only way to m

        • by sjames (1099)

          Sorry to double reply, but it's also worth considering that when the politicians squabble, no amount or quality of evidence will change their minds. At most, it will cause them to take a minute to sling mud at the researchers.

  • by Great Big Bird (1751616) on Friday June 06, 2014 @04:03PM (#47182993)
    Is it possible they were so high in their walled garden that they couldn't perceive or predict possible backlash?
    • Re:Not Anticipated (Score:4, Insightful)

      by i kan reed (749298) on Friday June 06, 2014 @04:08PM (#47183045) Homepage Journal

      No, it's just that privatization has become incredibly normalized, and the idea of pushing out government duties to contractors(and the potential abuse that entails) is second nature nowadays. If you honestly think this is the only time student records got entered into a third party system without consideration of the effects, I've got some minor's personal data to sell you.

    • by cogeek (2425448)
      More likely they were just high. It's ridiculous to think that what works for kids in Florida works for kids in Hawaii, or what works for kids in Arizona works for kids in New York. This kind of data is just meant for tracking, it wouldn't be used to improve a thing.
      • More likely they were just high. It's ridiculous to think that what works for kids in Florida works for kids in Hawaii, or what works for kids in Arizona works for kids in New York. This kind of data is just meant for tracking, it wouldn't be used to improve a thing.

        That's why they include location data.

        Really: the goals are pretty good -- use machine learning to get the correlations instead of depending on the all-too-fallible "common sense". The problem is, the goals and the implementation are only loosely related. The researchers are trying to do the right thing, but in the process they're creating a database that can be abused intentionally or inadvertently for other goals. There's a reason HIPAA exists; this system would not just do an end-run around HIPAA, it would do much more. This data would become one of the most valuable assets to many corporations and government agencies in the US (and beyond).

        • by cogeek (2425448)
          You give the government too much credit. Common core doesn't take location into account at all. It's a one-size will be imposed on all solution.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 06, 2014 @04:04PM (#47183003)

    The benefits are indeed obvious, as long as you trust the people holding the data....

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by i kan reed (749298)

      There are two ways for this not to be a disaster, and we can't make up our minds about what we want:

      1. Information wants to be free and we live lives where everyone can find out whatever they want about us, and we collectively use that to hold those in power responsible too.
      2. We find a way to secure and limit the availability of data both to regular people and powerful people.

      As it stands we're on a course where information inflates a information imbalance that exacerbates a power imbalance that already

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        "Information wants to be free" is incredibly misused.

        If I learn something, chances are I want to spread that information to others. The number of YouTube instructional videos for which there is no conceivable audience is a testament to that. Also, the number of mis-informative videos is likewise a testament.

        If I invent something e.g. patentable, I may not be able to share the details with people, but I am probably going to tell people I have a patent. It's part of the "I would like to tell you but I can'

        • by richlv (778496)

          If I invent something e.g. patentable, I may not be able to share the details with people, but I am probably going to tell people I have a patent.

          patents are supposed to disclose invention in detail - i don't think i'm following your point here

    • by BabaChazz (917957)

      Exactly. There are very real benefits to this program, and if I felt that I could trust the people putting it together to keep the information private, I'd be all for it. The thing is, there is nobody I can trust with this sort of information about my children except me and their mother.

  • 2 Decades (Score:4, Informative)

    by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Friday June 06, 2014 @04:07PM (#47183031) Homepage Journal

    huge state databases being built to track children for more than two decades, from as early as infancy through the start of their careers

    2 decades? Try the rest of their lives.

    Get 'em young, make 'em yours before they learn what "dissent" means.

    • Please, in spite of how much worse some things have gotten, the respect for dissent in the US has expanded, no contracted. Hell, both major parties like to cast themselves as rebels against the system because of how popular the notion has become.

      • Re:2 Decades (Score:5, Informative)

        by nbauman (624611) on Friday June 06, 2014 @05:33PM (#47183671) Homepage Journal

        Please, in spite of how much worse some things have gotten, the respect for dissent in the US has expanded, no contracted.

        I'm not sure about that. Daniel Ellsberg went free. Bradley Manning went to jail. Snowden and Assange have arrest warrants out for him.

        Back in the 1950s, the FBI identified spies, like Stephen Hall, that they decided not to prosecute, because in court the accused had a right to hear the evidence against him under the Fifth Amendment, and the FBI decided it wasn't worth having their sources and methods disclosed.

        Now, they prosecute somebody, and simply say that the defendant doesn't have a right to hear the evidence against him, and the Constitution doesn't apply.

        • Re:2 Decades (Score:4, Insightful)

          by blackiner (2787381) on Friday June 06, 2014 @07:03PM (#47184207)

          Now, they prosecute somebody, and simply say that the defendant doesn't have a right to hear the evidence against him, and the Constitution doesn't apply.

          Oh it is worse than that. Nowadays they send in US Marshals to destroy evidence so that the courts do not even get a chance to deny access to the evidence.

    • Dissent is allowed in America. Anybody who doesn't like it... what other crimes are you committing? We're sure you're covering one somehow... how about unelected government?

  • Idiots... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday June 06, 2014 @04:09PM (#47183055) Journal
    Anyone who thought that the virtues of this scheme would be 'self-evident' must be a real pleasure to deal with... I'm just curious whether it's the cluelessness or the arrogance that you notice first.
    • by pla (258480)
      Anyone who thought that the virtues of this scheme would be 'self-evident' must be a real pleasure to deal with.

      In fairness, the virtues do sound self-evident - If you have the goal of implementing a totalitarian regime on the 50 year horizon. You can slowly figure out who supports you, who won't care, and who will actively mobilize against you... And then just find some pretense to lock the latter group up for the majority of their adult life.

      Now, the stated goals? Not even realistic. Although aggr
      • The focus here is not on population outcomes, which smaller class size would help.

        The focus in on individual outcomes.

        Wouldn't collective outcomes help individual ones? Sure. But if they can pick the low hanging fruit on individual outcomes, the population is helped, but with little or no extra cost.

        The virtues of having a normalized database with readily available information should be self evident, if you aren't going to leap to the "indoctrination and control" conclusion. If you insist that this level

        • by pla (258480)
          If you insist that this level of detail has been widely available for decades outside of a few progressive areas, you are positively psychotic, living in a made up world.

          Instead of calling me crazy, how about you point me to the mind-blowing success those few progressive areas have experienced directly as a result of their utopian panopticons?


          The virtues are self-evident. And if they are not self-evident, you are not informed enough to have an opinion. The negatives are not self-evident, but parents
          • by Darinbob (1142669)

            How does one decide that education strategies work or do not work, without measuring the results? How does one decide that a good night's sleep followed by a good breakfast increases or decreases academic performance without measuring something and keeping data? You can't just rely on common sense because that is not always right.

            The data is useful. Howeve I agree that the data should be strongly protected, never used for advertising, never associated with the name or public means of identifying the stud

        • I'm not actually thinking of the 'indoctrination and control' outcome (if anything, concerned parents are usually the ones who want Junior to absorb as many facts as his little head can hold, so he can get into a good college and Succeed). I'm thinking more of the "it's usually easier to game the metrics than it is to improve what they are trying to measure" problem.

          Consider the example of "The Texas Miracle" in education that was a big thing ~2000: they went with a (theoretically plausible and benign) c
        • by khallow (566160)

          if you aren't going to leap to the "indoctrination and control" conclusion

          The problem isn't when we leap to that conclusion, but rather when the people owning the database do. Sure, I can see the potential positives. I can also see the potential negatives. Those nix the project.

    • by davecb (6526)
      It's obvious: children are prey and parents will be happy with other adults targeting them in new and interesting ways.
  • STASI type surveillance, over-present security forces. Cops in kindergartens, schools and grocery stores.
    This story is for sure about some North country.

  • Lack of Trust (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dave562 (969951) on Friday June 06, 2014 @04:19PM (#47183135) Journal

    Every educator that I have known has acted with positive intent and a genuine desire to make the lives of future generations better. People do not go into education, especially in public schools, because they want to get rich or amass influence and personal power. They do so because they are gluttons for punishment and believe that it is their duty as human beings to make the world a better place.

    As a society, we see our data being used against us. Where as the educators are trying to track the effectiveness of their programs, citizens are fearful of the data being mined for nefarious purposes. Some things that come to mind are, increased healthcare premiums / denial of coverage. Denied job opportunities due to invasive background screening. I am sure that the concerns that people have are numerous.

    The other side of the equation is compelling though. If the educators are gathering data that showing people who failed or never took geometry end up making 50% less more than students who do pass geometry, they will more than likely look to tailor the curriculum to help students develop the skills and abilities required to pass geometry.

    The other issue is monetization of data. Nobody wants to be a product, especially if they are not receiving any benefits. To use the geometry example above, if the data sets are being mined to extrapolate data like, "Students who pass geometry are 50% more likely to purchase a luxury automobile." and that data is then sold to marketers to target Facebook advertising, people are going to be understandably upset.

    It all comes down to trust. Even if the educators can prove that their intentions are pure, what about the third parties they engage? What if the third party is initially pure, but then they go bankrupt and the personal data is sold as part of the liquidation of the company? Who is going to control what the fourth party does with it?

    • Re:Lack of Trust (Score:4, Insightful)

      by x0ra (1249540) on Friday June 06, 2014 @04:47PM (#47183377)

      Do you realize that everybody does not share your belief that your child should make as much money as possible, but instead, do what they like. There is other metric than "money" to measure "success". If you are skilled for music and enjoy it, even if you make 50% less than a pure breed mathematician, you are still doing what you like. And you give no crap to geometry, or calculus.

      Moreover, all teacher are not skilled the same way. I never understood anything in my bachelor linear algebra course for months. The teacher was utterly incompetent. A year after that, I read the book about AES, with an introduction to linear algebra, and I learnt more in a few page read in the library, than in months listening to the teacher...

      Finally, the government isn't pure. I'd not be surprised to see the following happening:
      [at an FFL dealer:]
      John Doe: Hi, I'd like to buy this firearm
      Vendor: Sure, sir, let me run the background check...
      [time passes]
      Vendor: Sorry, sir. The system has found out you fought a younger boy when you were 13, your background check failed. Please wait for the local LEO to come proceed to your arrest."
      [/p]

      • by dave562 (969951)

        You just assigned me a belief that I do not have. I was simply making an example. Replace "make more money" with "more likely to help an old lady across the street" if it makes you feel better.

        Now are you asserting that because there are some incompetent teachers out there that educators should not tune their curriculum to produce more students who are inclined to help old ladies across the street?

        You do realize that with a large enough sample size, the impact of singularly incompetent actors will not sta

        • I was simply making an example. Replace "make more money" with "more likely to help an old lady across the street" if it makes you feel better.

          But that is the PROBLEM with this idea, It would be used to encourage children to follow the educational (and other) path which was determined as best for them by someone who may or may not share the values of their parents...or of the children. For that matter, the people determining what path the children should be encouraged to follow may not share the values of those in the community. And it is unlikely that what values are used to determine what path the children will be encouraged to follow will be op

          • by dave562 (969951)

            Right. And every child is a special snowflake, so different than their peers and the generations that came before them. Heaven forbid that people who have dedicated their lives to educating children should be allowed to leverage data sets and discuss those data sets with their peers.

            Children inherit their values from their parents until they are old enough to develop their own. The community are the educators who are teaching the children. Nerds talk about nerd stuff. Jocks talk about sports. Teachers

            • I am sorry, but you appeared to have missed my point. You initially said that this could be used to channel students into a program which would result in them making more money as adults. When someone pointed out that not everyone values making more money above all else, you responded "Well, fine. Then we can use it to make them more likely to help an old lady across the street." The problem is, which of those goals should the school system shoot for? And how do we as a society decide? Why should teachers d
    • Re:Lack of Trust (Score:4, Insightful)

      by fermion (181285) on Friday June 06, 2014 @04:59PM (#47183485) Homepage Journal
      Educational research is profoundly flawed, and often reflected the biases of the researchers. Most education are humanities people, without the decades of training in the scientific process and statistics. Some school districts expect adolescents to begin school at before 8 am, even though real research indicates that adolescents do not function as well as adolescents at that hour. A decade ago educators started taking about how brain research could help them, even though conferences on the subject were uniformly saying that brain science was no where near at a level to make this so. In fact a recent study of Lumonsity showed that transference was almost non existent for users of the site.

      This is not to say that educators and educational researches are incompetent. It is just that the standards of research are often not as high. Research standards are, as they should be, focused on protecting the student. Really, the problem is isolating variables and proving causation. If you look at most results of the data analysis, one can still predict outcomes primarily on SES of the location of the school and whether the school is comprehensive or has some level of selectiveness. This is because no matter what the studies say, most researchers do not do a good enough job controlling for these variables. The problem is that flawed data will be used used against educations and students. Lets look at an extreme example. I know a very smart kid who got kicked out of every 'good' school in his city because he had a lack of impulse control. When confronted with tougher teachers who expected him to complete the AP and dual level classes he excelled, and matured. My concern about this database is stuff this kid did when he was 14 would effect his opportunities when he is 18. In general the 14 year old kid and 18 year old kid are completely different people. The good thing that might come out of this is that the good schools that failed the 14 year old kid would lose points for the failure, and the school the succeeded in helping him might gain points, but that did not happen. On a personal note, I went to a good good school, which is different from the average bad good school. They did the work to force me mature and excel. Every teacher there treated me as an individual to push to succeed, not a entry in database. I never felt like I was less of a student, even though I was below average for the school. This is what education is about. Not tracking who gets a job or goes to the best colleges, but conning kids into learning more that they think they might.

      • by jma05 (897351)

        > Educational research is profoundly flawed, and often reflected the biases of the researchers.
        > Most education are humanities people, without the decades of training in the scientific process and statistics.

        That's not true. Every one with a PhD is expected to have statistical training. You don't need "decades" of training in stats. Most hard science PhDs don't have that. 4-5 grad courses will generally do. Research projects with any quantitative component will typically consult a statistician for at

    • by dcollins (135727)

      "If the educators are gathering data that showing people who failed or never took geometry end up making 50% less more than students who do pass geometry, they will more than likely look to tailor the curriculum to help students develop the skills and abilities required to pass geometry."

      In schools, there are (at least) opposing camps: the educators (teachers in classrooms with students) and administrators (pointy-haired bosses). It's easy to overlook the very deep disconnect that these groups have within a

  • If you fail to document yourself to a lot of people during your educational process, I can't hire you.

  • It's none of your damned business! Butt out!
  • Both sides are right: Assuming it wasn't misused, it would be an excellent way to datamine by computer what things work and don't, for a variety of home issues and problems.

    If it isn't misused.

    If.

    I can see CSI: Nosy Neighbors TV show, questioning a guy, "According to your school info, you have trouble making friends and once pulled up a girl's skirt. You murdered Mr. Body, didn't you?"

    No, the temptation for this info to be datamined by companies or worse, government officials dealing with uppity troublema

    • Re:If. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sabri (584428) on Friday June 06, 2014 @06:14PM (#47183901)

      I can see CSI: Nosy Neighbors TV show, questioning a guy, "According to your school info, you have trouble making friends and once pulled up a girl's skirt. You murdered Mr. Body, didn't you?"

      Exactly that.

      If.

      No, when.

      Somewhere 5-10 years downstream, some politician/NYPD-chief will use the next Sandy Hook event to say "We had the troubling information in the school's database, but we couldn't use it. Let's change the law".

      And we all know it's going to happen at some point.

  • Nothing new (Score:5, Funny)

    by RevWaldo (1186281) on Friday June 06, 2014 @04:33PM (#47183275)
    Teachers and vice principals have been warning students that their misbehaving and bad attitude were going on their permanent record for decades.

    .
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Teachers and vice principals have been warning students that their misbehaving and bad attitude were going on their permanent record for decades.

      I don't understand. What parent doesn't want his child continually monitored so he can be bombarded with targeted ads? This benefits society by getting rid of the dinnertime period of quiet discussion with continuous cries of "I want it, I want it, I WANT IT ... NOW!!! The man on my school tablet said if you really love me you'll buy one tonight!".

      All sarcasm aside, I have watched our educational system devolve over the last two decades into being less and less about teaching reading/writing/arithmetic and

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        But what about this is about training to be a consumer? This is about tracking data over time. What is really freaking people out is that current spate of privacy intrustions, so that now anyone who wants to track data is assumed to be some evil advertiser. Doesn't help that the Bill Gates name was attached to this article as an aside, now readers will assume that it's all about corporate greed. This is a knee jerk reaction.

        We know the schools are broken, quite a lot of people are agreeing with that. H

  • by mbone (558574) on Friday June 06, 2014 @04:33PM (#47183277)

    "People took for granted that parents would understand [the benefits], that it was self-evident,"

    Oh, I think that the parents understand the benefits fairly well. They just realize that they don't accrue to them or their children.

    • by amosh (109566)

      I was about to post this exact same comment when I read yours. I agree 100%, mbone.

  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Friday June 06, 2014 @04:58PM (#47183483) Homepage

    "People took for granted that parents would understand [the benefits], that it was self-evident," said Michael Horn,

    I'm sure they do. The benefits are self-evident. It is the people who have been advancing these programs who are lacking foresight, for not considering the costs.

    The problem is not that these programs have no value, it is that the cost is large and not well understood, and that once built it is very hard to make these things go away. As a society we have not begun to seriously examine the threat of these massive databases. Recent [slashdot.org] big data [slashdot.org] research has shown us the approximate threat level: In terms of influence power, it is "very big, larger than even the researchers expected."

  • by matbury (3458347) on Friday June 06, 2014 @05:17PM (#47183581) Homepage

    What's missing from the conversation is how internet surveillance data is actually used by real companies in the real world. The truth is shocking but we almost never hear about it. Here's an article from a UK satirical investigative journalism periodical:

    "Eyespy

    Dodgy data deals

    SILICON Roundabout is the groovy name for the UK tech sector, backed with taxpayer cash through Big Society organisations like Tech City Investment Organisation and the Technology Strategy Board and estimated to be worth £225bn, or 12% of GDP, by 2016. But since almost all this will come from "big data" - information gathered for marketing purposes - our blossoming industry might more accurately be called Surveillance Roundabout.

    Between them, consumer intelligence companies, credit reporting agencies and data marketing firms hold detailed and current information on almost the entire population. They often suffer data breaches at the hands of hackers, who then use the loot (name, address, national insurance number, etc) for identity theft and fraud. Since there is no law requiring big data companies to reveal hacking or even use encryption, it usually gets covered up. Only when the damage is massive do we see it in the news, as was the case with Experian, Barclays, Lexis-Nexis and Equifax recently.

    Besides safekeeping, such an intrusive industry raises another question: is sensitive personal information now mere merchandise? Most UK data brokers have sense enough to hide their creepier practices, but there are exceptions. Clear Data Ltd, based in Herefordshire, advertises lists of old people ("over 65 and mostly female") waiting to be targeted by quack doctors, boiler room conmen, telephone raffle operators, and pyramid schemers in need of credulous targets. Data Broker Limited, from Cheshire, caters to predatory lenders — "[if you're] offering new loans to people With poor credit history and [county court Judgments against them], Databroker have the largest list related to loans for postal, telephone, mobile, SMS, email and social media campaigns".

    The company also provides lists of consumers who "seek online relationships". If you can't get a loan or a shag, we'll let the right people know. Or if you're struggling with a betting habit, a firm like the Data Octopus of Manchester might pass on your details in one of its databases of habitual gamblers.

    While Washington is looking hard at Silicon Valley data brokers in the US, a recent Senate inquiry describing them as secretive and opaque, the chances of scrutiny here look slim, even though some of the biggest companies directly named in the inquiry report — Epsilon, Experian and Acxiom — also operate extensively in the UK.

    UK politicians love getting into bed with trendy tech companies — David Cameron has extensive connections with Google, the tax-dodging behemoth whose revenue model is data surveillance. And how many of our legislators and regulators know anything about the web? Judging by how the Data Protection Act is taken as a joke by techies and as a useless tool by prosecutors, few indeed."

    Source: Private Eye, No. 1632, 21st March - 3rd April, 2014, Page 31.

  • by Hussman32 (751772) on Friday June 06, 2014 @05:39PM (#47183707)
    Let's say they start datamining and storing whether or not a child has received mental health care. Then what? Kids and their parents will prevent their children from getting the needed health care in order to prevent their child from being classified as 'aberrant' by what is well-known to be an inconsistent psychological practices.

    Even worse. It will hurt redemption stories. In my own experience, I probably had too much fun when I was a kid. My grades were good but my friends were a varied lot, and some of them were not well-regarded by The Powers That Be (note I was in a small town, nails that stick out get hammered down). But I got wise, worked hard and smart on my education, and I'm doing well for myself. Would this have been possible if I were tracked during high school and automatically relegated to 'one of those ruffians?'

    The parents are right to complain about this, much more harm than good comes from it.
    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      "Tracking" here does not mean classifying the student immediately and putting them in programs. What it does do is provide a measurement over time of how a student is progressing. Such as do the students who went to pre-school do better in the 6th grade than those who skipped it? How much better do students do in school if they usually have a nutritious breakfast? Do students with a higher homework load succeed in academics more often than those with a lighter load? Do self esteem programs actually wor

  • Most teachers have a 50 year career. With statistics collected on every student the most effective teachers could be identified. These teachers could be recruited to teach the next generation of teachers. Somehow it seems that educators see every child as a unique snowflake and any information collected on the education of that child will be useless for the other 54 million students in the country.

    It's the twenty-first century, you have no privacy, ask Donald Sterling. At least we can put that information

  • Here we have parents who have come to know that their offspring has defects and wants a situation where truth is buried so that their brat will get out of the house and have less need to borrow money from them for the rest of their lives. Being that morality is a strange notion to them it does not occur that people with the best life record should be rewarded by society to a greater degree than people who, one way or another, are a mess. Yes some employers are creeps but some are n
  • That everyone seems to be clamoring for data is reason enough to distrust the motives of those engaged in the endeavor.

  • Guess the guys should have thought what the benefits but also drawbacks and costs are. Not only for them, but for all people involved.

  • That "assumed" word is at the root of so many genuine fuck-ups.

    Though in this case, I suspect that the more appropriate word is "hoped", as in "hoped they wouldn't notice or find out."

  • So I find it interesting that in a story about the tracking of all of the children's data by "big data", the provided link has an embedded tracking feature:

    http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/internet-data-mining-children-107461.html?hp=l7

    You know what the "?hp=l7" is? The source of the link. Without it, the page still loads, which means it's purely a tracking token.

    So either the poster was too lazy/unaware to remove it, or someone is participating in an affiliate program. Seriously, Slashdot should be

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