Links to my writings, and media coverage of my security findings.

Why Student Data Security Matters
March 23, 2015

Uncovering Security Flaws in Digital Education Products for Schoolchildren
By Natasha Singer
March 5, 2015
New York Times

Digital Learning Companies Falling Short of Student Privacy Pledge
By Natasha Singer
Feb 8, 2015
New York Times

With Tech Taking Over in Schools, Worries Rise
By Natasha Singer
September 14, 2014
New York Times

“Different websites collect different kinds of information that could be aggregated to create a profile of a student, starting in elementary school,” said Tony Porterfield, a software engineer and father of two pre-teenage sons in Los Altos, Calif. “Can you imagine a college-admissions officer being able to access behavioral tracking information about a student, or how they did on a math app, all the way back to grade school?”

California Legislature passes stiffest U.S. bill to protect K-12 students’ online data
by Sharon Noguchi
August 31, 2014
San Jose Mercury News

But Los Altos parent Tony Porterfield has found portions of ClassDojo not fully encrypted. He has lobbied schools, sports teams and companies to tighten privacy protections. And he calls the bill “a great start.”

Protecting Student Data From the Classroom to the Cloud:  School Privacy Zone Summit Recap
By Harrison Stark
February 26, 2014
CommonSense Media

Tony Porterfield participated in the panel entitled, ” What’s the Big Deal about Student Privacy?”

By Tony Porterfield
February 24, 2014
CommonSense Media

As a parent and a computer engineer, I’m enthusiastic about technology and the learning opportunities it can offer my kids.  But — also because I’m a parent and a computer engineer — I’m wary of the collection of my kids’ personal information by many of the apps, websites, and educational services they use at school.

Data Security Is a Classroom Worry, Too
By Natasha Singer
June 22, 2013
New York Times

“Mr. Porterfield, an engineer at Cisco Systems, examined Edmodo’s data security practices by registering himself on the site as a fictional home-school teacher. As he went about creating imaginary students — complete with cartoon avatars — for his fictitious class, however, he noticed that Edmodo did not encrypt user sessions using a standard encryption protocol called Secure Sockets Layer.”

How Shutterfly and Other Social Sites Leave Your Kids Vulnerable to Hackers
By Dana Liebelson
May 3, 2013
Mother Jones

“I was an AYSO coach for my younger son last fall, and I went to a coach training session where I was given a flyer about how to set up a Shutterfly account for my team,” says Tony Porterfield, who is also a technical lead engineer for Cisco in Los Altos, California. “So I went on, I set up a roster, and then I realized right away that there was no SSL security. I couldn’t believe it. I thought: ‘We’re protecting our credit cards, but we’re not protecting our kids?'”
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