Microsoft is committed to helping schools find the right balance between protecting privacy and encouraging learning in the classroom. Microsoft is among the first companies to sign a “Student Privacy Pledge” on how Microsoft agrees to handle collecting and using student data. In Microsoft’s Bing for Schools service, Microsoft works to protect student privacy, guaranteeing that no student data is mined for advertisements.
Bing for Schools program uses Microsoft’s cloud-based tools like Azure and Office 365 to create personalized curriculum for over 8 million students in classrooms across the US. However, with the use of the Microsoft cloud-based tools also pose a problem concerning student and family privacy. While it is clear that technology is used to collect certain information on each individual student to create a personalized learning program, Microsoft cannot use that student information for monetary gain.
Microsoft allows for school IT administrators to control what devices are connected to their secure school network through Windows Intune, removing the need for onsite servers and being able to control points of possible network vulnerabilities. In February 2015, Microsoft adopted the world’s first international standard for protecting personal data stored in the cloud, dubbed ISO/IEC 27018. ISO/IEC 27018 helps protect personal data stored in the cloud by creating third-party audits of how cloud data is stored to help protect personal data from falling into the wrong hands.
CTO of Microsoft Education, Cameron Evans, explains that while Microsoft continues to safeguard student data, there is more things Microsoft and school systems must do:
“Now is the time to elevate the discussion on student data privacy and to support a comprehensive student privacy bill. Schools must do their part by developing written policies to govern student data privacy, and then reinforcing those policies. And Microsoft will do all we can to advance the good uses of data to help educators deliver a quality education, while never forgetting that students are not products, and that their data must never be sold. Just as we’ve done for corporations, Microsoft is committed to helping schools find the right balance between protecting privacy and encouraging innovation.”
As Microsoft’s cloud computing services continue to evolve, so will the policies and safeguards that are used to protect personal data stored in the cloud. Microsoft will continue to develop its Bing for Schools service, along with Office 365 and Azure to ensure student data is properly protected for years to come.