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Student Data Privacy Legislation: What You Need to Know

Student Data Privacy Legislation: What You Need to Know

Nearly every school in the country relies on cloud services for student performance initiatives and data collection. As a result, many are concerned with how student data is protected from third party services, leading to the introduction of several bills into Congress this past month. Here's the low-down on what's being discussed.

According to iSchoolGuide.com, "only 7 percent of the 95 percent of school districts sending student data to outside companies for school data management directly prevent the latter from selling such data," making it imperative to pass legislation that dictates how student data should be protected.

Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) reintroduced the "Protecting Student Privacy Act" last month. The act was originally introduced in 2014 and is getting new life this year.

The bipartisan measure would be an update to The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and is intended to "empower schools to restrict the amount of time a private company can hold on to student records, provide parents with the right to access personal information about their children that is held by private companies, and back-up companies who institute comprehensive data security programs," according to the senators on TheHill.com

Earlier in the month, Representatives Luke Messer (R-IN) and Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced the Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act of 2015.

"The bill includes prohibitions on selling student information, using the data for targeted advertising purposes and disclosing the information to third parties, said Khalia Barnes, director of the Student Privacy Project for the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)," according to Deseret News.

The bill also allows parents and students to access their own data portfolio and have the option to delete select sensitive information should they desire, putting control back into the hands of parents and students.

Additionally, it considers the educational gaming industry and how to protect student data from ed tech companies as well.

"The bill puts a legal framework around how the 'ed tech' industry can use the data collected from students when they use games and apps, said Paige Kowalski, vice president of policy and advocacy for the Data Quality Campaign," the article said.

So far, the act has over 20 education groups supporting it.

Comment your thoughts about student data protection below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

06/03/2015

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