Data Privacy

School Passport 2.0 Puts Schools In Control of Data, 'Seamlessly Anonymizes' PII Shared with Ed Tech

Global Grid for Learning has unveiled its newest school data exchange solution designed to give schools better data analytics and control over data privacy while eliminating the need for vendors to access and share students’ protected private information, according to a news release. 

At the ASU+GSV Summit this week, GG4L introduced its new School Passport data exchange platform, which “allows information to be shared by schools with their ed tech vendors, but can now seamlessly anonymize PII to address a major privacy vulnerability for the industry.”

The challenge of capitalizing on ed tech data to improve learning outcomes while protecting student data has become the industry’s biggest Achilles heel, as cyber crime grows more sophisticated and ransomware’s steadily rising impact on K–12 school districts leads to more breaches of student data every year. Last year, ransomware attacks targeting K–12 schools rose by 827% according to the latest threat report from network security researchers at SonicWall.

And yet ed tech vendors’ routinely share school PII across platforms, with schools having very little, if any, control or insight into what data, precisely, is being shared and by which platforms. 

“School Passport is breaking this habit by minimizing the need to share school PII across ed tech vendors,” GG4L said in its announcement. 

The updated School Passport platform “leverages GG4L's patents and innovative token-based services to solve the problem that traditional rostering approaches have created, including the reliance on legal compliance as the sole approach to protect schools,” according to the announcement. 

School Passport offers “a robust open standards-based API framework of anonymized services which makes it easy for vendors to adopt.”

All the students’ PII is anonymized within the platform, and schools using School Passport have monitoring tools to track where and how data is shared and data governance tools to restrict sharing or anonymize data, GG4L said. District tools include a PII vault that allows IT managers to maintain control of data encryption.

"School Passport builds on our recent experience with PII Shield, API-based communications, and school-centric data governance," said GG4L Founder and CEO Robert Iskander. "School Passport is the first zero trust-based anonymized and tokenized data exchange and governance infrastructure for schools."

GG4L said districts using School Passport can “significantly reduce the amount of student PII that is shared with external entities” and thereby greatly relieve compliance burdens on IT teams as well as reduce implementation delays where data privacy oversight is a concern. 

Vendors can benefit from School Passport, too, GG4L said, by eliminating their absorption of student PII, they reduce their risk profile and lower costs associated with data privacy compliance and oversight — all while providing the same user experience as well as data that can be combined on the district dashboard to help educators make better-informed decisions for improving learning.

GG4L is a contributing member of the open-standards advocacy nonprofit 1EdTech and has been participating in 1EdTech’s Identity Task Force and the 1EdTech OneRoster® standard project. “This will lead to certification showing that ed tech suppliers can meet the requirements for supporting anonymized identity,” GG4L said.

"The 1EdTech community of school districts, universities, states and suppliers is providing leadership on student data privacy through our TrustEd Apps program," said 1EdTech CEO Rob Abel. "The community greatly appreciates GG4L's contributions, and we will expedite the benefits of this work via extensions to the widely adopted OneRoster standard."

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About the Author

Kristal Kuykendall is editor, 1105 Media Education Group. She can be reached at [email protected].