Canada’s Cybersafety Foundation Calls for the Protection of Children’s Data on Data Protection Day 2019

CBJ Newsmakers

TORONTO, Jan. 28, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The ongoing modernization of Canada’s education sector has brought unparalleled connectivity into the sector, but with added convenience, the risk of compromising student personal data for millions of Canadian children has grown into a clear and present danger.

Alarming statistics recently published by Ontario’s Auditor General highlight the challenges of boards of education as:

74% of Ontario boards fail to provide formal security and privacy training to staff
94% reported not being aware of key IT risks and have no technical plan in place to handle business interruptions
36% could not understand the root causes of cyberbullying because reported incidents are never logged

“This is the year that the education sector, and school boards in particular, absolutely need to make changes that will serve to protect students for the rest of their academic lives and beyond” said Amalia Barthel, a certified privacy lecturer and KnowledgeFlow’s Director of Education.

The organization has highlighted the Top 7 Cybersafety Objectives for the Education Sector and encourages school boards to use this checklist to drive change over the coming months:

  1. Create and enforce a formal cybersecurity policy to safeguard sensitive data
  2. Train and certify staff about privacy and security
  3. Increase awareness efforts to educate schools and students
  4. Impose rigorous standards to stop abuses of student data by technology vendors
  5. Communicate shared practices for the responsible use of social media
  6. Conduct risk assessments for identity theft and other abuses annually
  7. Promote digital literacy across communities through local schools

“With 41 out of 69 boards reportedly lacking a cybersecurity policy, that’s nearly 60% of school boards failing the most basic test for privacy practices and data protection capabilities. It is clear that the need for immediate reform in the Canadian education sector is urgent and illustrated by these serious lapses that endanger students and their families” said Stephen Thurlbeck, a seasoned IT strategist and KnowledgeFlow’s Director of Public Sector Solutions.

With unsubstantiated provincial pressure on school new metrics are now tracking every aspect of student activity. These result in privacy abuses by cloud vendors and technology providers that are awarded lucrative contracts without sufficient risk assessment to determine the impact on student personal information.

How will future generations deal with the data breaches facilitated by today’s failures to calculate risks to children’s data? KnowledgeFlow invites organizations and school boards to show interest and make a commitment to the protection of students at www.CybersafetyFoundation.org or via email at info@KnowledgeFlow.ca

About the Foundation:

The KnowledgeFlow Cybersafety Foundation is home to Canada’s only K-12 Cybersafety Champion program designed to certify educators, parents and students. It is designed by certified industry experts to engage current students and protect future generations. With support from Seneca College’s Canadian Cybercrime Information Centre (CCIC) and other academic institutions, KnowledgeFlow will soon introduce the nation’s first Digital Education Platform, extending its reach across Canada. The organization is spearheading reform and awareness efforts with 3 new hashtags:  #ChildrenDeservePrivacy #EdtechPrivacy and #EdtechSecurity

Media and Contact Information:

Claudiu Popa / Co-Founder and Chair, KnowledgeFlow Cybersafety Foundation: 416-431-9012 or via email: Claudiu@KnowledgeFlow.ca

Paige Backman / KnowledgeFlow Co-Founder and Partner, Aird & Berlis Privacy & Data Security Group: Paige@KnowledgeFlow.ca

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