Firenze Sage: privacy of children no more?

Can the government really intrude like this on privacy of children? Is this OK with you?

As of Jan. 3, 2012, interstate and intergovernmental access to your child’s personal information will be practically unlimited. The federal government will have a de facto nationwide database of supposedly confidential student information.

The department says this won’t happen. If the states choose to link their data systems, it says, that’s their business, but “the federal government would not play a role” in operating the resulting megadatabase.

This denial is, to say the least, disingenuous. The department would have access to the data systems of each of the 50 states and would be allowed to share that data with anyone it chooses, as long as it uses the right language to justify the disclosure.

On page 5 of the regulations, the DoEd couldn’t be clearer about its intention to wield its power.

Some commenters on the regulations wanted to be notified when their child’s records were shared, and this was the department’s response:

We agree that it is preferable to obtain consent before disclosing PII [personally identifiable information] from education records, and nothing in these final regulations is intended to change the statutory framework for consent. Nonetheless, Congress explicitly provided in FERPA that for certain purposes, PII from education records may be disclosed without consent. 20 U.S.C. 1232g(b).

Can anyone think of a better reason to abolish the department of education.


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