Assault on student privacy
The US Federal government — specifically, the Department of Education — has proposed keeping a database of all students enrolled in post-secondary education programs[via Michael Geist's Internet Law News]:
Until now, universities have provided individual student information to the federal government only in connection with federally financed student aid. Otherwise, colleges and universities submit information about overall enrollment, graduation, prices and financial aid without identifying particular students.
For the first time, however, colleges and universities would have to give the government data on all students individually, whether or not they received financial assistance, with their Social Security numbers....
Supporters say that government oversight of individual student data will make it easier for taxpayers and policy makers to judge the quality of colleges and universities through more reliable statistics on graduation, transfers and retention.
The change would also allow federal officials to track individual students as they journey through the higher-education system....
For colleges to hand over information on individual students, Congress would have to create an exemption to existing federal privacy laws, said Sarah Flanagan, vice president for government relations at the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.
"The concept that you enter a federal registry by the act of enrolling in a college in this country is frightening to us," Flanagan said.
She said that officials from some states had already announced they would like to match the data against prison records. In states where such data is already collected from public universities, she added, there has been pressure to check the school data on students against housing records, driver's licenses and employment records.
What a bad idea!
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