SIIA and FPF Respond to Ill-Informed Student Privacy Pledge Reaction

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Several years ago, SIIA and the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) worked together with a number of Ed Tech companies to develop a Student Privacy Pledge, a voluntary effort by the industry to commit to good privacy practices regarding their collection and use student data.  President Obama endorsed the pledge and it has been instrumental in guiding the development of state student privacy legislation toward protecting privacy while fostering the use of student information for fulfilling the educational needs of students.  Recently, we marked the milestone of 300 companies signing on to the pledge. 

This week, however, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) issued an attack on the pledge as containing loopholes in its fine print. Specifically, EFF takes issue with the definition of “student personal information” in the Pledge and the fact that the pledge only covers “school service providers.” These concerns are largely unfounded and ill-informed.  It is the belief of SIIA and FPF, as noted in FPF’s blog, that the pledge is not purposefully meant to be narrowly interpreted and in violation of the law as EFF claims.  It is also the view of SIIA and FPF that the pledge’s definition of “school service providers” is consistent with definitions in state laws and proposed federal bills.

We hope that EFF seeks to work with SIIA and FPF in the future to resolve any issue they have with the Student Privacy Pledge and any other problems regarding responsible use of technology for the improvement of student learning.

Diane Diane Pinto is the Public Policy Coordinator at SIIA. Follow the Policy team on Twitter @SIIAPolicy.