Parents’ NY Lawsuit Seeking to Block Cloud-Based Storage of Student Data Is Dismissed

In a previous post, I wrote about privacy concerns surrounding data storage nonprofit inBloom and its partnership with the New York State Education Department (“NYSED”).  On February 5, 2014, New York State Supreme Court Justice Thomas A. Breslin dismissed the lawsuit filed by parents seeking to block NYSED from sharing and storing student data with inBloom.  In his order, Justice Breslin ruled that the agreement between NYSED and inBloom did not violate New York state privacy law.  Noting that the new storage system “can support more security features” than current systems used by New York school districts, Justice Breslin found that the decision to enter the agreement was reasonable and that the disclosure and transfer of the student data will be for a legitimate purpose. See Decision and Order, p. 17.

The dismissal of the suit has not eliminated all of the obstacles faced by inBloom and the NYSED, however.  After delaying release of additional student data last month, NYSED announced earlier this week that it would delay launch of its instructional information system, EngageNY Portal, which provides access to the data stored by inBloom.  NYSED is delaying the launch of the portal in order to “work with legislators to address concerns about data security and third party providers used by the State and districts.”  In addition, proposed legislation that would prohibit the release of personally identifiable student information without parental consent is pending in the New York State Senate.  inBloom is expected to testify at a legislative hearing in New York later in February.

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