privacy

Consumer Bob reports for NBC7 San Diego, Feb. 11, 2016, that millions of California public schools’ students will soon have their personal information and school records handed over to a nonprofit community organization, Concerned Parents Association (CPA).

Claiming they need the information to see if California schools are violating the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and other laws, CPA had fought for access to the data in federal district court.

CPA won, over the objections of the California Department of Education.

The database this non-governmental organization will have access to includes all children, kindergarten through high school, who are attending or have attended a California school at any time since Jan. 1, 2008.

The database includes the following information on those students:

  • names
  • social security numbers
  • home addresses
  • course information and progress reports
  • behavior and discipline information, such as suspensions and expulsions
  • mental health and medical information

Privacy group Beth Givens with Privacy Rights Clearinghouse says it’s “shocking that the court would release this sort of information.” Eva Velasquez with the Identity Theft Resource Center agrees: “A lot of that information could be used to commit identity theft if it gets into the wrong hands. The issue isn’t why they want it. The issue is that it creates vulnerabilities and access points.”

Rony SagyThe attorney for the non-governmental Concerned Parents Association, Rony Sagy, who got her law degree from the University of Tel Aviv and is a bar member in California and Israel, insists the information will only be accessible to a handful of people and will have a “Special Master” who will certify that security measures are followed.

Yeah, right.

Ever heard of hackers?

So what is the Concerned Parents Association (CPA)?

Here’s what I found:

  • Wikipedia has no page on Concerned Parents Association.
  • California Concerned Parents Association has a Facebook page, which describes the organization as “Concerned Parents Association, also known as California Concerned Parents Association or CPA, is a 501(c)(3) organization that serves to advance the status of students with disabilities…. The CPA is a nonprofit organization run entirely by unpaid parents and advocates.”
  • CPA has a website called California Concerned Parents.
  • When I searched for “Concerned Parents Association” on GuideStar, an information service specializing in reporting on U.S. nonprofit companies, it showed 2 results (Voices Association, Inc. and San Diego Black Health Associates), neither of which is Concerned Parents Association. So I modified my search to “California Concerned Parents Association,” but obtained the same 2 results.

There appears to be very little being done on the state or local level to inform California parents of the release of all this data to this nongovernmental entity.

If you want to opt out of the database:

  1. Sign an Objection Form and mail it to U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller. Click here for the form.
  2. You can also access the form by going to ID Theft Center.

The form must be submitted to the judge via snail mail by April 1.

~Eowyn 

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Dr. Eowyn’s post first appeared at Fellowship of the Minds.