Forum set on data privacy for students
Tam Noda (The Philippine Star) - May 28, 2013 - 6:14pm

MANILA, Philippines — A forum has been set on June 6 to increase awareness on data privacy for students as more and more schools are adopting digital and cloud computing technologies.

Organized by Vibal Publishing and supported by Websafekids.org and SafeGov.org, the forum will gather education leaders, parents, teachers and government representatives to provide a comprehensive discussion on the issues surrounding data privacy.

Both Websafekids.org and SafeGov.org that advocate for Data Privacy in education in the Philippines, said that poor implementation of the technology may put students at risk without considering how vendors of such technology would access and use the personal identifiable information (PII) of children for advertising purposes.  

This, as companies which are rigorously sharing PII without consent may end up in the hands of hackers, human traffickers and identity theft felons, among others.

The forum aims to educate parents that their kids are in danger if businesses continue to violate data privacy in education.

Rio Brigino of Vibal Publishing said the company's goal to advance learning will not be realized if the students’ basic right is violated. From publishing textbooks, Vibal Publishing now provides digital tools such as multi-platform apps for education.

"Data should be stored in appropriate places commensurate with the privacy and security needs of students and teachers," Brigino said. "We are organizing the event called Data Privacy in Education because there is a compelling need to raise awareness and mobilize stakeholders on the issue."

According to Jovel Cipriano, founder of Websafekids.org, student data belong to students and teachers, and should only be used for learning and not for commercial gain and definitely not for criminal activities.

"Privacy and independence in our schools should be respected while users should always be empowered to retain control of their data. Solutions for education, if they are really designed to help achieve progress in school, should only focus on helping students improve their learning outcomes and not sell their data for business purposes," Cipriano said.

Cipriano said the goal of Websafekids is to educate, engage and empower children on how to recognize and resist potential Internet risks.

Meanwhile, Jeff Gould of SafeGov.org, said data mining only destroys the building block of education as they lead students to potential danger.

The two organizations added Data privacy is the right of everyone, including kids, to a protected and controlled digital footprint and privacy should thrive even in the online space inasmuch as personal data shared through email and social media should be responsibly handled.

They shared that in the United States, Massachusetts is one of the first states that introduced a legislation aimed at regulating and banning companies from using student data for commercial purposes through the MA Bill 331.

Yet they cited that in the Philippines, President Noynoy Aquino III signed into law the Data Privacy Act in July 2012. However, at present, the Data Privacy Commission has not yet been formed, allowing Filipinos subject to personal data abuse.

Concerns were raised that personal information of netizens such those of students might be in the hand of organized crimes. Their email address, physical address, telephone number or even email content may be utilized by kidnappers, pedophiles, human traffickers, drug dealers or other delinquents to orchestrate their motives.

BOTH WEBSAFEKIDS CIPRIANO DATA DATA PRIVACY DATA PRIVACY ACT DATA PRIVACY COMMISSION EDUCATION PRIVACY STUDENTS VIBAL PUBLISHING WEBSAFEKIDS
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