Informed consent for proprietary software used at NZ public schools?

Dave Lane made this Official Information request to Ministry of Education

Currently waiting for a response from Ministry of Education, they must respond promptly and normally no later than (details and exceptions).

From: Dave Lane

Dear Ministry of Education,

Almost all NZ's public school kids are at either a "Google" or "Microsoft" school. Their curriculums are tightly tied to Google Docs or Microsoft Office 365. Most also use the SeeSaw classroom/portfolio system extensively. All of these are foreign corporate proprietary software with most or all student data hosted outside the NZ jurisdiction.

Who at the Ministry reviews & approves the Terms & Conditions of all these proprietary applications? Where are their analyses and guidance for schools and parents published for review? How often are these Ts&Cs revisited and re-analysed, given that all of the software vendors stipulate "these terms can change at any time without notice"?

Who clicks "I ACCEPT" on behalf of each student for each of these proprietary apps? As a parent, I've never been asked to approve the use of any of these applications for my children. Wouldn't this be required by the software proprietors to claim "informed consent"? Doesn't having a non-parent or guardian accepting it on behalf of parents and students constitute a breach of the terms of all these applications?

How does the Ministry fulfil its statutory obligations to public school children whose informed parents quite reasonably reject the Ts&Cs of one or more of these proprietary services as unacceptable impositions on their children's freedom, privacy, and data sovereignty?

What advice have you received on these issues from your legal advisors? Who have you consulted to provide suggestions for less controversial software options and what advice have your received? For example, that you could adopt open source options that could be commercially hosted on behalf of the Ministry onshore in the NZ jurisdiction, where the Ministry can then set the Ts&Cs (similar to how apps like Moodle and Mahara (aka My Portfolio) are hosted currently)?

Yours faithfully,

Dave Lane

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From: Enquiries National


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Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga / Ministry of Education
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33 Bowen St, Wellington

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From: Enquiries National


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Dear Dave Lane

Thank you for your request for information below. The Ministry will
consider and respond to your request in accordance with the Official
Information Act 1982 (the Act).

 

The Act allows up to 20 working days for a response, making 21 April 2020
the latest date for our response to you.  If more than 20 working days are
needed due to the potential workload involved in answering your request,
we will notify you accordingly.

 

Please note, the Ministry may publicly release on our website the response
to your request five days after you have received it. Any personal
information will be removed.

 

In the interim, if you have any questions about your request, please email
[1][email address].

 

 

Thanks

 

Enquiries National Team | Ministry of Education | TW
33 Bowen St, Wellington

[2]education.govt.nz  |  [3]Follow us on Twitter: @EducationGovtNZ
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