Under: student data
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 ...
For educational agencies, institutions, and third-party service providers, protecting student information from unauthorized use or access is paramount. SIIA believes that every party handling student data should implement and maintain strong administrative, physical, and technical safeguards reasonably designed to protect the types of information they hold.
For years, third-party service providers have been maintaining strong security measures for two big reasons. First, it is in the best interest of an education service provider to act in the best interest of students and schools, including by using information only for the educational purposes tasked with and maintaining strong security measures. The digital instructional materials and educational software industry is highly reputational. Success and failure is built not just on product efficacy and improving student outcomes but trust between providers and the students, schools, and parents they serve.
Second, school service p ...
Parental consent is an important element in protecting student privacy. Of course, as FERPA says, prior consent is not always required when student information is disclosed for the educational purposes of a school under the direction of the school. But the fully informed consent of parents also legitimizes additional uses of student information. When not directed by a school, should a student’s information be shared with potential colleges or employers? What about to a student’s tutor or a scholarship competition?
It’s clear there are currently federal and increasingly state laws and regulations to ensure student's sensitive data is protected and used only for educational purposes. As some policymakers though have sought additional protections they have drafted legislation that would preclude parents from authorizing the use of their child's data for purposes restricted or not envisioned by the legislation. They shouldn't.
If technology-enabled services a ...
Too often the use of student information by schools and teachers to improve learning is overshadowed by unrealistic and mistaken fears that school service providers are using student information to target our children with digital ads. As I wrote in an earlier blog, current law bans digital advertising based on information that school service providers gather from students and the industry is in compliance with that prohibition. Unfortunately, these unrealistic fears drive well-intentioned state and federal legislators to consider unnecessary legislation to ban what is already illegal and to stamp out non-existent evils.
SIIA today issued a press release on the introduction of the “Protecting Student Privacy Act” by Sens. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Orin Hatch (R-Utah).