These Three Data Collection Bills Could Ruin Your Life
Though I've been remiss in my blogging life of late, information on several new bills coming up for votes in Congress this week (11.13.17), could have immense consequences on the ability of parents to control the personal data being shared pertaining to their children, and older students to control the amount of data being collected on themselves in relation to their college and work habits, and you need to share this information and contact your Congressman IMMEDIATELY ((202) 224-3121) to stop them.
For years, ROPE tried to stop the State Longitudinal Database System (SLDS) here in Oklahoma and warn others across the nation about the ill-advised legislative efforts to codify ways to create "transparency and accountability" in public schools. Today, our arguments remain valid: there is no way to provide either "transparency" or "accountability" without collecting countless data points of information on nearly every facet of a student's life - and of course, that is exactly what schools today do. You can find our research here, here and here and our video on the topic here.
Though states (including Oklahoma) have had varying degrees of success stopping some of the unbelievable amounts of data being collected on public schools students, the Federal Government could curb it by refusing to kowtow to big data vendors. Thanks to the lobbying prowess of Google, Microsoft and others, however, Congress continues to write bills allowing the construction of – or additions to – student databases across states. For data “reporting purposes” these SLDS’s are then linked together creating one large database at the federal level, though creation of any kind of national student database is completely illegal:
Title IX - General Provisions, Part E – Uniform Provisions – Subpart 2, Other Provisions, Section 9531 of federal school law prohibits a nationwide database (Department of Education), “Nothing in this Act (other than section 1308(b)) (Department of Education) shall be construed to authorize the development of a nationwide database of personally identifiable information on individuals involved in studies or other collections of data under this Act.”Unfortunately, no less than three bills are headed to Congress in this, and upcoming weeks, and their progress needs to be stopped IMMEDIATELY!
According to a letter to be released to Congress tomorrow by national education and data activists:
- The College Transparency Act (CTA) (H.R. 2434), would overturn the Higher Education Act’s ban on a federal student unit-record system and establish a system of lifelong tracking of individuals by the federal government;
- The Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act (FEPA) (H.R. 4174), would create a “unified evidence-building plan” for the entire federal government – in essence, a national database containing data from every federal agency on every citizen; and
- The Student Privacy Protection Act (H.R. 3157), would amend the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 USC § 1232g, without restoring the FERPA privacy protections that were gutted by regulatory fiat in 2012.
The CTA is the last piece of the puzzle which would hook together all elements of a student’s life from cradle to grave. Not only is educational data being collected and stored in a student’s state K12 educational record, it’s being shared – through the state – with many, many different federal agencies. If the CTA passes, now colleges will be required to share student data with Not only the Federal Student Aid Office, but the Departments of Treasury, Defense and Veterans Affairs, The Social Security Administration and the Census Bureau.
The SPPA, uses open-ended catch phrases to describe how data will be collected by and for “legitimate educational interest” while releasing personally identifiable information without consent of the student or their family.
The FEPA is arguably the worst of these bills, mandating every federal agency to collect data to facilitate the use of ‘evidence’ in policymaking. The unintended consequences of this bill boils down to a green light to collect data on any citizen on any topic so they can provide ‘evidence’ that the policies and laws they propose to create are sound.
Below are three flow charts I created to show how data is collected and how it travels through the systems currently as related to K-12 education. If you study these and then follow up on the research it took to create them, there will be no doubt in your mind that American government is well underway in the endeavor toward creating a fully surveilled society. This should scare us all.