Tech, Piazza Sign Formal Agreement to Safeguard Data

Georgia Tech and Piazza, an education Q&A web service provider, have signed a formal agreement to ensure the safety of student data across campus. 

More than 200 Georgia Tech courses, both on-campus as well as digital courses in the online Master of Science in Computer Science program, use Piazza’s services. Up to this point, no formal agreement existed between Georgia Tech and Piazza due to the free nature of the provider’s web services. Now, a formal agreement has been reached that ensures the appropriate use of student data now and in the future. 

“Up until now, students and faculty were agreeing to Terms and Conditions with Piazza on an individual basis,” said Matt Lisle, director of digital learning technologies for Georgia Tech’s Center for 21st Century Universities. “This agreement is news for Georgia Tech because it’s important the community knows we are actively working to protect their data.”

Jimmy Lummis, associate director of Georgia Tech Cyber Security, and members of the Institute for Information Security and Privacy, are leading efforts to solve security challenges at the university and manage the development of this formal agreement with Piazza. 

“This agreement allows us to ensure that we are in compliance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act — to protect the privacy of our students’ information and continue to use a very popular cloud app,” Lummis said.

So, what does this mean for the campus? Simply put, it means that students, teaching assistants, and faculty can continue to use Piazza as they have in the past, without concern that their data might be sold, accessed, or used in ways that breach their privacy.

“The main message we’d like to send is that Piazza is safe to use at Georgia Tech,” Lisle said.

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Brittany Aiello

Center for 21st Century Universities

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