May 3, 2016
ELW

Alabama Fighting Invasive Data Mining Bill

 

Sadly the corporate and government establishment has blocked an excellent data protection bill, HB 267, by Rep. Arnold Mooney that was supported by a coalition of organizations as diverse as Alabama Eagle Forum and the Alabama chapter of the ACLU, had 35 co-sponsors  and for which both the American Principles Project and Education Liberty Watch were consulted.

Now, the chairwoman of the House Education Committee has authored an invasive data mining bill, HB 125, which establishes a longitudinal database with very few privacy protections.  It is backed by the Business and Workforce Councils of Alabama, the type of state level corporate and government groups that have been pushing the inferior, inappropriate, and indoctrinating Common Core Standards; the invasive tests, and career tracking that will be possible with these databases.

Here is a description of the bill and the Alabama Eagle Forum’s concerns as reported by the Alabama Political Reporter:

Proponents argue that this is necessary for workforce developments.  Opponents argue that this is government spying on kids.
Alabama Eagle Forum opposes the legislation.  The conservative group wrote: “The Alabama State Longitudinal Database System Bill or House Bill 125 would create two new State agencies with no accountability and almost unlimited authority.  These agencies’ sole purpose would be to collect information on private citizens. HB125 is currently on the move. Call your AL Representative and Senator tell them to oppose now!”

HB125 would create the Alabama Office of Education and Workforce Statistics.  This bill will apply to all public school students and workers leaving public education. Eagle Forum writes, “It will collect private information on individuals, potentially through their entire lives. The purpose of this bill is to collect information on students, and monitor them indefinitely. As the bill states, ‘to create the Alabama Longitudinal Data System to provide for the matching of information about students from early learning through postsecondary education and into employment.’ (pg. 1) The stated goal of the legislation is to, ‘guide decision makers at all levels.’ (pg. 3) No clear basis or need for this mass amount of data collection on private citizens including students is provided. The bill contains only vague promises of confidentially with no actual method of protection or limitation on the data collection power of these new agencies. The bill claims to provide protections but provides none. The protection and the maintenance of confidentiality of collected educational data, including compliance with the Federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and all other relevant state and federal privacy laws, and all relevant state cyber security policies, (pg. 5).”

Eagle Forum wrote, “There are currently no State or Federal laws which apply to this bill in regard to protecting students’ personally identifiable information such as name, social security number, or family information.  Even if all the information collected were dis-aggregate (meaning not on-its-own enough to identify an individual) it is still dangerous. Dis-aggregate information becomes personal information once you have just a few data points. Eagle Forum of Alabama opposes HB125, as it would create two extremely powerful agencies and violate the rights of Alabamians. If the government is going to seek any private information from citizens, they must provide a sound basis or get a warrant.”

If this issue is important to you and you have friends and family in Indiana, you may wish to get in touch with them to urge their Alabama senators to oppose HB 125 right away (session ends May 16th)! Thank you!

 

 

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