In January, 2015 President Obama endorsed the Student Privacy Pledge, calling for companies to make a firm commitment to using student data only for educational purposes.
“We pioneered the Internet,” Obama said at the Federal Trade Commission. “But we also pioneered the Bill of Rights and a sense each of us as individuals have a sphere of privacy around us that should not be breached by our government but also by commercial interests.”
Although 118 companies in the business of providing services to students in America’s classrooms have signed the Student Privacy Pledge, the Department of Defense (DoD) is noticeably absent. The DoD operates several dozen programs in public and private school classrooms across the country, many that collect information on unsuspecting youth for recruiting purposes.
The Pledge outlines several commitments regarding the collection and use of student personal information.
In October 2014, The Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) and the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) launched the Student Privacy Pledge to safeguard student privacy.“We developed the Pledge to provide a way for school service providers to clearly explain to parents, students and teachers how data is being used to support student education”, explained FPF Executive Director Jules Polonetsky.
The Pledge applies to all student personal information whether or not it is part of an “educational record” as defined by federal law, and whether collected and controlled by a school or directly through student use of a mobile app or website assigned by their teacher. It also applies to school service providers whether or not they have a formal contract with the school.
Signers of the Student Privacy Pledge have committed to:
Not sell student information
Not behaviorally target advertising to students
Use data only for authorized education purposes
Not change privacy policies without notice and choice
Enforce strict limits on data retention
Support parental access to, and correction of errors in, their children’s information
Provide comprehensive security standards
The DoD routinely violates several of these standards. For instance, the Pentagon behaviorally targets students through the use of the Claritas PrizmNE segmentation system in tracking unsuspecting youth.Recruiter Journal, Nov. 07, P. 8The Army recently unveiled a Digital Recruiter Program Recruiter Journal, Nov. 14. Schools across the country direct students to a host of military sights to assist students in exploring careers.
The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB ) is a recruiting program that operates in 12,000 schools in a deceptive fashion to extract student data, often without parental knowledge or consent.Through this program the Pentagon collects Social Security numbers and detailed demographic information. It’s difficult to discern its military affiliation on its website.
March2Success is a school-based and school-promoted Army program that also gathers information on youth. The web-based service, which aids students in preparing for standardized tests, claims to be a free, no obligation tool.
The military purchases information gathered from students through high school yearbook and ring companies.
The military merges the directory information it collects on American children in the schools with from a myriad of websites, survey responses, college directories, retail sites, merchandise sites, and popular gaming sites.In addition, the military collects information that individuals voluntarily contribute on brochures or questionnaires and buys information from the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Selective Service System, and the College Board, among other places. Mom and dad are out of the loop.
The DoD dumps all of this data into an Orwellian database known as the Joint Advertising, Market Research & Studies or JAMRS.
JAMRS manages a database subcontracted by Equifax of personal information of over 30 million United States citizens aged 16–25 for the purposes of military recruitment. Stored information includes, but is not limited to: name, address, email addresses, cell phone numbers, ethnicity, education, and employment information.
JAMRS covers every school and every child in the country. For the most part, the public is clueless.It’s time for the DoD to come clean. We call on the military to sign the Student Privacy Pledge.