O’Donnell Questions SED Commissioner John King Regarding Student Privacy at Education Hearing

O’Donnell’s bill A6059a enables parents to protect their children’s personal data

Today, Assembly Member O’Donnell questioned State Education Commissioner John King and Deputy Commissioner Ken Wagner regarding the state’s plan to share sensitive, personally identifiable student information with the private corporation inBloom, Inc. He joined members of the Assembly Education Committee including Chair Catherine Nolan, who hosted the hearing, in seeking more information about why parents are not allowed control over their children’s data and what information the state has shared with inBloom.

O’Donnell’s questions focused on his grave concern regarding parents’ inability to opt out of the current system, and he emphasized the urgent nature of this issue. After the hearing, he elaborated:

As I mentioned during today’s hearing, both my bill A6059a and Assembly Member Nolan’s bill A7872 passed the Assembly in June and are currently “live” in the Senate. If the Senate returns before the New Year they can still vote to protect our children’s privacy by passing either bill. I encourage everyone who testified against inBloom today and everyone who feels strongly about this issue to reach out to his or her State Senator in support of our bills. The State Education Department has already uploaded student information to inBloom, and expects to begin uploading personally identifiable information shortly. There is no time for delay.

Assembly Member O’Donnell’s bill, A6059a, would give parents the right to control their children’s personal data and choose whether or not they would like to “opt in” to the inBloom database. It passed the Assembly on June 21, 2013, and has a Senate counterpart, S5932. New York’s Senators have until December 31, 2013, to pass the bill in their house before the process starts over.