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IJIET 2016 Vol.6(1): 65-70 ISSN: 2010-3689
DOI: 10.7763/IJIET.2016.V6.660

The Big Student Big Data Grab

A. S. Weber

Abstract—This contribution addresses a serious emergent policy issue regarding student data privacy that has arisen in the United States the last five years due to the increasingly widespread use of cloud computing services in education and the creation of large datasets–commonly known as ‘Big Data’–collected by educational online (hosted) services. Considerable confusion exists around the actual privacy protections offered by laws such as FERPA, PPRA, and COPPA in online environments, and in addition the actual use and extent of the collection of data by hosted services is not transparent. Large datasets have proven immensely valuable to for-profit corporations, and schools generate large amounts of information about students including state and federally-mandated student records. Thus technology giants such as Facebook, Google, Apple, and Microsoft as well as non-profit entities such as inBloom with strong links to for-profit companies, have been competing to gain greater access to student Big Data for the purposes of commercialization. Using two cases studies (Google Apps for Education and inBloom, Inc.), the author demonstrates that new student privacy laws are required in the U.S., and the author suggests the outlines of a federal statute.

Index Terms—Cloud computing–education, big data, educational datasets, student privacy, FERPA, PPRA, COPPA.

A. S. Weber is with the Premedical Department of the Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q), Box 24144, Education City, Doha, State of Qatar (e-mail: alw2010@qatar-med.cornell.edu).


Cite: A. S. Weber, "The Big Student Big Data Grab," International Journal of Information and Education Technology vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 65-70, 2016.

General Information

  • ISSN: 2010-3689 (Online)
  • Abbreviated Title: Int. J. Inf. Educ. Technol.
  • Frequency: Monthly
  • DOI: 10.18178/IJIET
  • Editor-in-Chief: Prof. Dr. Steve Thatcher
  • Executive Editor: Ms. Nancy Y. Liu
  • Abstracting/ Indexing: Scopus (CiteScore 2022: 2.0), INSPEC (IET), UGC-CARE List (India), CNKI, EBSCO, Google Scholar
  • E-mail: ijiet@ejournal.net


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