Actually, privacy is a fine idea. But anyone who thinks we have it anymore is deluded. Basically, everything about you is available to anyone who looks hard enough. But that doesn’t mean that we should give it up voluntarily.
The current issue, however, is the release of private information about public school students. We’re talking about release to private companies, no less. As Diane Ravitch pointed out a couple of days ago, “several states plan to share confidential student data with a corporation funded by the Gates Foundation. This information may be shared with other entities, for purposes that are not clear.”
The issue, as described in a petition in Class Size Matters, is that “New York State, along with Colorado, Illinois and Massachusetts, intends to provide confidential student information to a private corporation called the Shared Learning Collaborative, funded by the Gates Foundation, which in turn will make this data available to for-profit companies to develop and market their commercial learning products.” I don’t know about other states, but why is Massachusetts allowing this? It certainly seems contrary to the Massachusetts way of doing things.
One of those pushing for the petition says, “I don’t think it is an overstatement to say this whole project represents perhaps the most serious erosion of privacy in our nation’s history.” Sounds like hyperbole to me, but maybe not. It could end being exactly that. At this point I don’t know enough about the details — and surely the devil is in the details — so I’ll let you know when I find out more. Or follow the links above to find out more yourself.