Protecting student identity is a critical component to any school’s cybersecurity strategy
According to the Center for Internet Security, the number of cyber incidents aimed at K-12 schools are expected to increase by 86% in the upcoming school year. It declared U.S. schools saw unprecedented numbers of cyberattacks in 2020, and though many schools will return to in-person classes this fall, it’s likely that technology will still play a huge role in the classroom. One area which is critical to address, yet unconsciously gets side-tracked due to other pressing issues on school leadership plates these days, is student identity protection.
Child identity theft and scamming is on the rise and many schools are inadvertently giving away hundreds of pieces of a student’s identity simply by publishing their photos online, especially on social media channels, and sometimes without valid parental consent. This one act alone can give away personal information on a child instantly to a public global audience. The result being the creation of a global digital footprint of a child which can have harmful effects including loss of privacy, abuse, and embarrassment.
Colin Anson, CEO and co-Founder of pixevety, a privacy-centered photo management solutions provider for leading schools, says “social media has its place, but care should be taken when publishing photos of children. And when I say publishing, I literally mean the term publishing, as when you “share” or “post” on social media you are actually publishing content to a global audience”.
Once published – difficult to take back
Parents often permit schools to post student photos on their social media feeds, but Colin cautions that this may reinforce a “sharenting” culture that “places kids in the position of having digital footprints long before they are even old enough to know what that means”.
Many schools, when contacted by a parent wanting a particular photo removed, will find this a difficult, if not impossible, task. When you publish photos on the internet, you cannot erase them as they are shared repeatedly, even after deletion. And many social media sites have clauses hidden in their terms and conditions that give them rights over the content shared on their platforms.
This means when a school posts a photo of a child on such a site they are handing over co-ownership of the photo to the owners of the platform who can then use that photo how they deem fit. And, because the school agreed to the terms and conditions, there is not a lot that they can do about it.
So, what can schools do to fix this problem?
Simple. Find a better way to collect and record photo consent from parents, and find better – more private – channels to publish in.
pixevety is one such solution. This company has been on a solid growth trajectory, especially during this current pandemic, as a highly secure image sharing solution to assist schools in engaging with their school communities during never-ending lockdowns. A privacy-by-design photo management platform with ethically designed automated facial recognition technology (with a unique advantage to switch off ai-recognition to coincide with State-based legislation) and embedded consent, it was launched back in 2012 to cater exclusively to schools and families. Established in Australia, it has a mission to build safe online communities where trust, privacy & respect matter.
On average, tens of thousands of photos and videos are being uploaded into pixevety galleries across Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, and now US schools and families are joining the growing pixevety community.
Providing over 10 million images with daily privacy protection
I joined pixevety in the U.S. in 2020 and have been delighted to be a part of such an innovative, inspiring team who is passionate and committed to the protection of child images at school. And it hasn’t taken long for some great US schools to adopt working with us, as they just get the importance of student identity protection.
“As the marketer for our school, I am loving the facial recognition feature that uses our annual school pictures as the template to automatically recognize who is in each photo. It makes the responsibility of meeting our parents’ requests for various levels of media permission easy to manage and meet. I no longer have to spend time painstakingly trying to determine if the photo I want to share on social media has any of our students in it who have media restrictions. I simply upload my photos, see who’s in them, and can post confidently knowing that I’ve respected the wishes of my parents to not use their student in our various marketing efforts. Pixevety has already saved me time and is providing me with an easy and convenient way to manage and share our photos throughout the year.”
Stephanie Gish, Director of Community Relations at TMI Epispocal in San Antonio, Texas
pixevety now protects hundreds of thousands of school members globally as well as providing daily relevant, consent-filtered content to their school communities in a private and secure online gallery setting. This ensures a child’s image is used appropriately by the school, taking into account the consent wishes of parents/legal guardians.
Hosting a pixevety gallery has assisted hundreds of schools – and other child-safe organizations – to more safely engage and share media content, as well as become more privacy compliant. pixevety’s unique proprietary consent technology automatically attaches real-time permissions to each image tagged with a child. We hope to make image privacy a top priority in all schools around the world so children can start to gain control over their digital footprints. But our CEO does not want to stop at media consent. pixevety is a company set out to build what he calls “ethical, privacy-driven solutions in a digital world”.
Hi, I am Mike Dowling. If you would like to learn more about the pixevety solution for your US school, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me here on LinkedIn.