January 18, 2014

 

Privacy

Just when personal privacy and data breaches are in the news with NSA leaks and hackers stealing your credit card information, the Indiana legislature is pushing a bill allowing an entirely new government agency to collect and redistribute data belonging to and associated with Indiana’s students, parents, and teachers.


HB 1003 authored by Rep. Steve Braun (R-Zionsville) which is benignly named “Economic Development” is in reality and in large measure, the creation of yet another new government bureaucracy called the Indiana Network of Knowledge or “INK”.


The bill essentially makes INK a new government database warehousing agency that will be controlled by Governor Pence and his appointed Director who will become, in effect, the state's “data czar”.


The collection, analysis and reporting of K-12 student information has historically been the responsibility of the Department of Education, DOE, under the direct supervision of the elected Superintendent of Public Instruction.


However, in its sweeping charge under HB 1003, INK must “organize, manage, break down, and analyze educational, workforce, and other data.” Other than some student disciplinary and health records, there is almost no limit to the types of data INK can demand the Department of Education and other agencies hand over.


The bill would require the DOE to hand over individual student data to another state agency—data it has always guarded with the utmost privacy and security.


Alarmingly, there doesn't appear anywhere in the bill limits on the non-educational uses of student data by third-party vendors.


It’s not just the Department of Education that must submit data to INK. All other agencies of the state, colleges and other institutions must submit data to INK as well. With all kinds of new entities handling information related to individual student data, it is evident that there are dangers inherent in this bill as to privacy matters.


HB1003 not only presents a whole host of privacy concerns but again duplicates efforts that the Department of Education is already responsible for handling and consequently duplicates costs.


This bill is a waste of taxpayer dollars and adds more bureaucracy to state government. We urge the members of the House Commerce, Small Business and Economic Development committee to recognize the inherent privacy risks this bill poses and vote against this bill.