White House Working Group Urges Caution on Big Data

The abundance of big data technology in education "raises serious questions about how best to protect student privacy," according to a White House working group report released last week.

In January, President Obama commissioned a wide-ranging review of "big data" and privacy, led by the White House counselor John Podesta, to explore the impact of these technologies on education, government efficiency and health care, among other sectors. In the section on education, the report notes that much of the data is owned by for-profit companies, which "raises complicated questions" about ownership and usage. The working group also urges the federal government to maintain an "ongoing conversation" about protecting student privacy.

"Big data and other technological innovations, including new online course platforms that provide students real time feedback, promise to transform education by personalizing learning," Podesta wrote. "At the same time, the federal government must ensure educational data linked to individual students gathered in school is used for educational purposes, and protect students against their data being shared or used inappropriately."


Related Links

The White House Blog: Findings of the Big Data and Privacy Working Group Review


Big Data: Seizing Opportunities, Preserving Values