Yesterday we held a Town hall meeting at Brooklyn Borough Hall about the
state and city plan to share personally identifiable student information with a corporation called inBloom inc. and other third party vendors.
About 150 people showed up, including two Regents (Regent Kathleen Cashin of Brooklyn and Regent Betty Rosa of the Bronx), and two representatives from the State Education Department (Dennis Tompkins, Chief of External Affairs and Nicolas Storelli-Castro, Director of Governmental Relations), who listened to the presentations and the passionate objections of parents. Adina Lopatin, Deputy Chief Academic Officer of NYC DOE spoke and answered questions. I also gave a presentation about inBloom and DOE provided a FAQ here. Unfortunately, inBloom and the Gates Foundation refused invitations from our co-sponsor Assemblymember O’Donnell. (Check the links for their responses.)
Some of the disturbing revelations from Adina: The city and state have already shared confidential student data with inBloom. They don’t know how much they will have to pay for inBloom’s “services” starting in 2015. If there is a data breach from inBloom (as many people believe is nearly inevitable) the state will be legally and financially liable, since the Gates Foundation has insulated itself and inBloom from responsibility.
If this highly sensitive information leaks out, it could lead to class action suits against the state for many millions of dollars. Just yesterday, it was reported that LivingSocial suffered a massive breach from a data cloud. Living Social is partially owned by Amazon, which will host the inBloom data cloud. Why is NY State — the only inBloom participant currently committed to sharing student data from throughout the state — insisting on gambling with millions of children’s privacy and security along with all these financial risks? I am left wondering, even more than before.
Below are Part I and Part II of the event. Part I starts with some parent outbursts, followed by introductory remarks from Margaret Kelley of the Brooklyn Borough President’s office and Stephen Boese of the Learning Disabilities Association, and Adina’s presentation and mine. Part II includes the comments and questions from the audience.
I have also sent follow-up questions to Adina and I will post her answers when I receive them. Thank you to all the co-sponsoring organizations and individuals, those you who came and Brooklyn BP Markowitz for hosting. Now please contact your legislators and urge them to support the Student Privacy bill!