Thursday, May 9, 2013

Important Information about Online Safety

The safety of our children is a priority for all of us. AYSO takes online security and data privacy very seriously—both in terms of physical data and digital information. AYSO has a long-standing privacy policy and a policy on social media, designed to protect against the improper use of private information.

Parents may have seen a recent news article regarding the potential vulnerability of sports team sites (such as the AYSO Shutterfly Team Sites) to hackers.

It serves as a reminder to be vigilant and avoid inputting personal information through unsecured Wi-Fi networks to potentially unsecured websites. Under the right circumstances, a hacker with sophisticated expertise could inappropriately access a team website when a registered user accesses the page from a public, unsecured Wi-Fi network (for example, in a coffee shop or an airport).

Although we are unaware of any breaches occurring with the popular AYSO Shutterfly Team Sites, we confirmed with Shutterfly that no children’s vital information (such as child’s email, age, Social Security number or similar information) has been made available on the Shutterfly Team Sites by AYSO. Further, we took additional steps earlier this year, requiring Shutterfly to disable the option for parents or coaches to enter an address on team websites.

AYSO’s intent is to ensure that appropriate information (game pictures, game schedules, snack schedules, etc.) is conveniently accessible to parents and coaches, but that vital personal information is protected. The purpose of these Team Sites is to enhance the soccer experience and enjoyment of the players and their families.

We have previously notified parents, coaches and other AYSO participants through our e-newsletters about the risks of using public, unsecured Wi-Fi networks, and to take protective action. Another article on this subject is included in the upcoming issue of PLAYSOCCER Magazine, which went to print last week and is already on its way to AYSO families.

We have, and will continue to, remind webmasters, parents and coaches not to include personal contact information on any website or social media pages, such as Region websites, Facebook pages and the like. Although no AYSO site has been compromised, we remain in contact with Shutterfly about their ongoing plans to enhance their security measures as technology evolves.

These steps are not the end point of our continual assessment of the security of both our own systems and third party systems AYSO teams may use. Please be assured that AYSO remains vigilant about data security and encourages all volunteers and parents to do so as well.

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