Is National asking your youth for personal info. at Summer Camp?

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Is National asking your youth for personal info. at Summer Camp?

Postby John F. » Sun Jul 25, 2010 8:40 pm

Just got back from Camp Barton, upstate NY. Had a great time. Two troops combine to fill a campsite. It only rain twice. One day for about 20 minutes, during that time it hailed for 5. received 1 1/5 inches, the second time, it rain for most of the morning, received another 1 1/5 inches. According to the scouts taking the weather merit badges.

In our welcome package, there was a letter from National, asking for the leaders and the scouts email address. the letter stated it was for a survey for National on how we feel about the week we spent at camp.

Some of the leaders are teachers at their other job. They felt it was wrong for National to ask for personal information from the scouts without their getting their parents permission first. If National wanted the scouts and leaders to fill out a survey, they should have it on paper or at least give the site to the scouts and leaders, and once they got home they could have gone to the site and filled it out them.

My question is, has any other camp received such a letter?
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Re: The Annual Summer Camp Thread - CY 2010

Postby WVBeaver05 » Sun Jul 25, 2010 9:20 pm

We were not asked for that info at Buckskin Scout Reservation.


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Re: Is National asking your youth for personal info. at Summer C

Postby Bill Pitcher » Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:27 pm

Not asked at Camp Tri-Mount, south-east of you, in Green County, NY, near hunter Mtn. Ski Resort.
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Re: Is National asking your youth for personal info. at Summer C

Postby RWSmith » Mon Jul 26, 2010 4:52 pm

I'd sure like to see this letter. If somebody gets a hold of it, please let me know... I will contact you, providing several options in getting a copy to me. E.g., e-mail, fax, postal mail.

If I can get a copy, I'll scan and post it here, so we can discuss the potential relation to Personally Identifiable Information (PII).

If National is indeed soliciting e-mail addresses (et al) from its youth members without parental consent, they would be violating their own policies.

But, let's see the letter before we start making assumptions and slinging mud.

Note: While there is a place on the Youth Application, No. 28-406B for the parent/guardian e-mail address (and this field is, of course, optional), there is not a field for the youth member's e-mail address.
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Re: Is National asking your youth for personal info. at Summer C

Postby jr56 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:44 pm

No such questionere at Ed Bryant Scout Reservation.
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Re: Is National asking your youth for personal info. at Summer C

Postby RWSmith » Wed Jul 28, 2010 7:05 pm

Okay; I got a copy. [Thanks to an anonymous source.]

While the header and footer are missing (plus, it's not dated), I've attached the salutation, body and signature tag.

I must say, while I don't have a problem with National attempting to use "technology" this way, their method of delivery (collection), in this case, does seem to me, personally, a bad precedent regarding their own youth member privacy policies. Even if --no, especially if-- you are the national council... if you are soliciting any youth member's email address, you'd really, really, really, should have their parent's permission, first. Just because "A Scout is trustworthy.", that does not override a parent's right to determine who should get their child's e-mail address, and for what purpose.

Now, IANAL (a.k.a., "I am not a lawyer")... But, IMO, if you are soliciting the email address (or proposing ANY form of online interaction) with anyone under the age of 13, you'd best be in compliance with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act and Rule (COPPA). Admittedly, the law can sometimes seem a bit grey, as there are some specific exclusions. But still, the purpose and intent of this law is, first and foremost, to ensure the opportunity for parental consent to be the overriding prerequisite in preventing, allowing for, or ceasing, the collection of personal information for the purpose of any online interaction with a child under the age of 13.

COPPA wrote:Personal Information
The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act and Rule apply to individually identifiable information about a child that is collected online, such as full name, home address, email address, telephone number or any other information that would allow someone to identify or contact the child. The Act and Rule also cover other types of information -- for example, hobbies, interests and information collected through cookies or other types of tracking mechanisms -- when they are tied to individually identifiable information.

Verifiable Parental Consent
Before collecting, using or disclosing personal information from a child, an operator must obtain verifiable parental consent from the child's parent. This means an operator must make reasonable efforts (taking into consideration available technology) to ensure that before personal information is collected from a child, a parent of the child receives notice of the operator's information practices and consents to those practices

IMPORTANT: Let us still consider the possibility of still not knowing the full story here... We were not there; we don't know what the form looks like. So, we really do not know the full context of this situation. There is the possibility of an attachment, or some other kind of specific instructions, being included in the "welcome packet" that was referenced in the original post. E.g., Maybe, the form itself (which we have not seen, yet) contains a statement prohibiting the collection of e-mail addresses from Scouts under the age of 13.

But, so far, I can say this much:

    If it were my signature on the above letter, you can bet your life I would have addressed COPPA before I signed anything.

    Then again, I wouldn't be sending out such a letter in the first place... at least, not without it going to the Scout's parents, instead... rather than trying to collect this information via the Scoutmasters while at Summer Camp, i.e., taking the parents out of the loop.

    While this letter does well in explaining appropriate security and handling measures; but, it fails to disclose whether or not a third-party (even if a contractually "trusted" agent) will be involved in the "research" -- that alone is a yellow flag. (Using a trusted agent in such "research" is common practice; but, so is hiding that fact.)

    More importantly though, the failure to even hint at parental consent gives me legitimate cause to distrust the entire "research project".

    Of course, they could just pay Mark Zuckerberg (see: Data_mining) a small fortune and get whatever "research" data they want.

If anybody comes up with anything else (i.e., a copy of the form); or, if you have any ideas, views, or references (pro or con), I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Summer Camp Survey Ltr.JPG
Summer Camp Survey Ltr.JPG (93.38 KiB) Viewed 8357 times
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Re: Is National asking your youth for personal info. at Summer C

Postby Nuts4Scouts » Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:20 am

Ahhh, the Innovation and Research folks.

They are folks that are associated with the Research end of the National Organization - the Innovation Engine.

For a while, the common shmo Scouter was able to browse, but not post to the Innovation Engine. It now seems to be locked completely to all but paid BSA employees.

Obviously, these guys tend to do before they check with the legal end of the BSA.

Just ignore the letter. Or. better yet, send it in with a note that you were not able to pass the request along due to the unavailability of parental permissions.

Maybe, just maybe (not holding my breath) they will get the hint!
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Re: Is National asking your youth for personal info. at Summer C

Postby RWSmith » Sat May 07, 2011 7:21 pm

[ Bump ]

This thread is from 2010; I just wanted to "bump" it for the upcoming 2011 season.
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