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Technology Firms Pledge to Protect Student Data

Technology Firms Pledge to Protect Student Data

Technology companies that provide education tools and services to U.S. schools, including Microsoft, are signing a pledge to promise schools and parents that they will protect their students' data. 

The companies that are signing the pledge, said an article on PCWorld.com, are "only a small section of providers to the kindergarten to 12th grade education sector." The Future of Privacy Forum (FPF), announced the pledge on Monday, and described the 14 companies as an “initial leadership group.”

"Microsoft and the 13 other companies have promised not to sell student information or behaviorally target advertising," the article said. "They pledge, among other things, to be transparent about the collection and use of data, to adopt comprehensive security standards to protect student data and use the data only for authorized education purposes."

This push to develop new products and services for schools has "already come under scrutiny" the article said. "The Parent Coalition for Student Privacy, for example, wrote in July to the U.S. Congress to urge review of emerging threats to student privacy rights and to ask for legislative action to address shortcomings in the existing law."

The issue is reaching across the country. In California, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill prohibiting the "targeting of students for online marketing and advertising purposes, selling of student information, profiling students based on data collected, and requires operators to have security measures to protect student data," said the article.

A bill has also been brought to the U.S. Senate to "amend the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974," PCMag said. The amendment is titled, "Protecting Student Privacy Act," and aims to keep private companies under watch who are protecting student data.

U.S. Rep. Luke Messer of Indiana said in a statement that "the principles would better inform the debate about what, if any legislation, is required to protect child privacy and to ensure information is used only for academic purposes."

Read the full story.

Article by Kassondra Granata, EducationWorld Contributor

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