Europe wrestles with safety of school children in the cloud
We read daily about the mad dash of business organizations to embrace cloud computing, but no less aggressive is the pace of cloud adoption in education. That reality has educational and government leaders in Europe wrestling with how to better safeguard school children in the cloud.
As noted in a recent article at Silicon Republic, "Governments are being called on to regulate how schools procure online services like cloud email for the classroom. More and more schools are using cloud services in Europe, which puts children at risk of intrusive tracking and profiling by large internet firms if safeguards aren't in place."
FierceEnterpriseCommunications has reported in recent weeks on the growing popularity of cloud-based computing in the United States, especially with early adopters of Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Applications for Education and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Office 365 for Education.
Meanwhile, both the Silicon Republic and Cloud Pro reported recently on a survey of European data protection officials released by SafeGov.org. That organization promotes trust and responsible cloud services in the public sector in Europe.
The SafeGov.com survey revealed broad European support for new safeguards to protect especially vulnerable cloud users, who were characterized as school children, civil servants and healthcare professionals and their patients. The survey said those groups were at particular risk of being tracked and profiled.
"The use of commercial cloud services by schools in Europe is growing, and while the benefits of such adoption are indisputable--ease of use, cost and simplicity--the education sector contains particularly vulnerable users who require special privacy protection," noted Jeff Gould, president at SafeGov.org.
"Our research suggests that when cloud services originally designed for online behavioral advertising are used in schools, these services may expose children to personal information processing that violates their rights under EU and French data protection laws." Gould noted in a blog on the SafeGov.org site. "The risk is especially acute in the absence of constraints on the contractual relations between data processors and data controllers that ensure the rights of data subjects to information and consent."
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