Tuesday, October 20, 2020
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Ocala

International education organization notifies Marion County of data breach potentially impacting 37,000 students

Pearson, an international company with specializations in educational resources, data and research, notified Marion County Public Schools of a data breach involving student names, birthdates, and email addresses recently. 

The breach involves the company’s AIMSweb product, formerly used by the district for student data storage, and could impact students enrolled from 2010-2017. 

It’s important to note this breach only involves student names, birthdates, and email addresses — all considered public record and “directory information” under Florida public records laws.  No confidential student information was exposed in this breach affecting 13,000 Pearson accounts nationwide.

Pearson notified the district on July 25, 2019.  The company says law enforcement alerted them of the November 2018 incident in March 2019. Data breaches typically take longer periods of time to be discovered, investigated and resolved.

The district believes 37,152 students could potentially be part of the breach; however, much of the data is about students who have moved on and are no longer part of the district.

MCPS continues working with Pearson, demanding the company own the breach of older information that should have been deleted.

Potentially-impacted students will be contacted via mail at their last-known address with the district. Additional information will be posted at www.marionschools.net and shared via various district communication channels.

Pearson is providing access to free credit monitoring service through Experian for individuals who may be impacted.  Visitwww.marionschools.net for more details on how to enroll.

MCPS will also post a Q&A document addressing the most common concerns with this incident.  That information will also be accessible at www.marionschools.net.

You can learn what actions to take following a loss of data from the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.identitytheft.gov/Info-Lost-or-Stolen.

MCPS diligently works to protect student information and has invested millions of dollars to safeguard data storage. The district also includes specific language concerning data storage with any contracted business.

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