Today, I am pleased to introduce and launch the “K-12 Cyber Incident Map.” It is a visualization of cybersecurity-related incidents reported about U.S. K-12 public schools and districts from 2016 to the present. Painstakingly assembled from public reports, it was created to begin to build a data-based awareness of the scope and variety of digital security and privacy threats facing K-12 public schools and districts, as well as to shed a light on the need for uniform standards for disclosing cyber incidents affecting schools, students, and educators.
These days, fingerprint scanners and cameras are regular parts of school life—on the ceilings watching students walk, and on their laptops analyzing their facial expressions. While surveillance tools could yield benefits for safety, performance development and security, they also raise thorny security and privacy issues.
This is fine.
I’d hazard that most anyone who has worked in the education and technology arena for any length of time has had to navigate conflict of interest issues. Leading a national non-profit in the field as I did, I faced perhaps more than a typical share. Two news stories this week have turned my attention (again) to the issue of conflict of interest in education, technology, and public policy.
The increasingly common practice of public school teachers affiliating with edtech companies deserves greater scrutiny. On social media many educators proudly tout their corporate affiliations as proof of their digital learning expertise, much like NASCAR drivers wear corporate patches on their uniforms. I don’t know where we should draw the line on conflict of interest policies here, but I am convinced it is past due time to revisit those policies for a digital age.