Monday, March 11, 2013

Is inBloom Going to Get Caught in Microsoft/Google Crossfire?

Bradley Shear:

Massachusetts has become the first state to introduce legislation that would ban companies that provide cloud computing services from processing student data for commercial purposes. MA Bill 331 is sponsored by Rep. Carlo Basile and it was referred to the House Committee on Education on January 22, 2013.

MA Bill 331 states, “Section 1. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary any person who provides a cloud computing service to an educational institution operating within the State shall process data of a student enrolled in kindergarten through twelfth grade for the sole purpose of providing the cloud computing service to the educational institution and shall not process such data for any commercial purpose, including but not limited to advertising purposes that benefit the cloud computing service provider.”

This seems to be aimed at Google Mail and Apps used by schools and is apparently supported by Microsoft (who needs to defend its remaining enterprise strengths). Seems to me it would apply equally to inBloom, which is or will be piloted in Massachusetts. I have no idea what's really going on with this.


Unknown said...

This is confusing. Regarding google, google apps for schools is advertising free (or can be if you set it right).

I'm confused by "commercial purpose," but I assume that this means that our student data provider (x2, now myfollet) would be fine since it processes our data for *our* purposes. I suppose if they wanted to start expanding their business model by using all of the educational data to sell ads, this would prevent that. It's not unthinkable that some companies would begin doing that.

A curious side-note, I wonder how this might effect advertising-bearing kindles being used in schools...

Tom Hoffman said...

It is definitely confusing. Allowing other vendors to analyze the data for their own research purposes would also seem to be a commercial purpose.