There's data and then there's asking for trouble

Ars Technica is reporting on a Queensland, Australia initiative to build a massive student database whose invasiveness and privacy concerns seem to dwarf even the volumes of data collected on students here in the States.According to the article,1,251 state schools would be part of the OneSchool program...

Ars Technica is reporting on a Queensland, Australia initiative to build a massive student database whose invasiveness and privacy concerns seem to dwarf even the volumes of data collected on students here in the States.

According to the article,

1,251 state schools would be part of the OneSchool program...and would be required to upload things like photos, career aspirations, off-campus activities, contact information, behavior records, attendance, and performance records. The state believes that such a centralized system will help the school system keep better track of each student's progression and allow teachers to check up on how their students are doing. The database would not be publicly accessible, although it would be open to all staff in the school system (there will be at least 12 different levels of access).

While some of these data are hardly atypical for a school system, the photos and off-campus activities alone are enough to raise serious privacy concerns. Many parents have suggested a compromise of requiring districts to keep such information in a student information system accessible to local staff instead of the entire state. The state has dubbed participation non-negotiable, however.

As Queensland University of technology IT professor Mark Loori, points out,

"The social fabric of hackers is such that this database is going to be a fair target," especially after [the Queensland Education Minister] has all but publicly declared that hackers won't be able to weasel into OneSchool.

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