Online privacy: Why is it important? How can I stay safe?

As students and families get ready to begin the 2020-21 school year, district officials would like to remind them of the importance of data safety and data security — especially with the increasing use of online learning apps, programs, and devices associated with remote learning.

Why should I care about data privacy when online?

Personally identifiable information, or PII, includes all information that could be used to identify, find, or connect with a student, including name, address, student ID, social security number, birth date, login credentials, as well as academic, health, and disciplinary records.

Cybercriminals are able to use this information to commit identity theft, financial fraud, credit card schemes and other malicious attacks. This is why it is vitally important to keep this information safe and avoid revealing sensitive personal and/or financial information.

Student data and privacy also extends to the use of social media. Despite privacy settings, there is always the possibility that posts and pictures on social media sites could be seen by anyone. Be careful about what you post. Deleted items aren’t necessarily gone forever.

How can I keep my child’s information safe?

It’s actually quite simple to keep your child’s data private. Here are some tips to stay safe while learning online:

  • Think before you click: Exercise caution before clicking on a link in an e-mail or opening an attachment, especially if it doesn’t appear to be from a district e-mail address. This may be a phishing scam and contain viruses that may attack your device.
  • Keep it to yourself: Do not write down passwords and leave in an easily accessible location. Never share your passwords or school ID with anyone or provide your school credentials to any non-school related service.
  • Don’t overshare: Be prudent about what you post online. Never post information such as your school ID, password, driver’s license, Social Security Number (SSN), bank account, or credit card data.
  • Shut it down: Always log off of your device when you’re finished with your assignments. That way, if your laptop is stolen, it will be harder for a thief to get at your personal information.
  • Be wise about Wifi: Before you send personal information over your laptop or smartphone on a public wireless network in a coffee shop, library, or other public place, see if your information will be protected. If you use a secure wireless network, all the information you send on that network is protected.

How will the district help keep my child safe?

EDLaw2D is 2014 legislation that calls for data privacy and data security protections limiting and safeguarding access to personal information. On Jan. 14, 2020, the Board of Regents approved an amendment to EdLaw2D that specifies how educational agencies must safeguard personally identifiable information (PII) of students and select school personnel. This includes delivering privacy and security awareness training to all employees annually and establishing a Data Protection Officer.

Districts must also ensure that any third-party vendor or service with access to PII is in compliance with the new regulations. The Goshen Central School District only uses programs that comply with EDLaw2D. A list of approved apps and services will be continually updated and hosted at https://portal.classlink.com/goshencsd

In addition, school-issued Chromebooks will have certain protocols in place for added security, such as automatic updates and antivirus software.

What should I do if I think my child’s information has been compromised?

Parents who have concerns or complaints about data privacy or security may file a complaint by contacting Personnel Director Dr. Gregory Voloshin, Data Protection Officer, at gregory.voloshin@gcsny.org or 845-615-6760.

If at any time the district learns that student and/or teacher/principal data has been compromised, parents and guardians will be notified, and the data breach will be reported to the state Education Department.