Monday, October 29, 2007

Blackboard & Dartmouth's Privacy Policy

In regards to the concerns about professors tracking student usage that I discussed in the previous post, I think that the Blackboard tracking feature might violate Dartmouth's computing privacy policy.

The policy states that users have "reasonable expectations of privacy in their use of information resources" and that "the provider of any program or service that gathers information about those who use it must either install a privacy warning or request Computing Services to place the program or service on the list of exempted programs." Blackboard certainly does gather information about student usage, and although Blackboard is mentioned in the list of exempted programs, the exemption only covers simulating Dartmouth ID numbers for testing purposes. On the Blackboard website, there is absolutely no warning about this feature (or a privacy policy of any other sort), and the only way to find out about its existence (as a student) is to dig down deep into its help features for faculty and course administrators.

1 comment:

John Bruce said...

You may have a point, but your point may also include just about any computer resource. Should there ever be a question about what internet sites you or any other student visited, for instance, law enforcement can seize your computer and go through its audit trails. Any limits the College places on its own ability to seize a student's computer in a dormitory or other College facility are probably only self-imposed and subject to change depending on circumstances. Does Dartmouth warn students that any e-mails sent via a College server, for instance, are subject to retrieval?