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This Week in Student Privacy: 5/19

Senators Markey and Hatch Reintroduce Protecting Student Privacy Act of 2015
Last week, Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) reintroduced the Protecting Student Privacy Act of 2015 in the U.S. Senate. According to EdSurge, “[t]he bill would amend the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to prevent edtech companies from using students’ personally identifiable information to target ads or from keeping student information when no longer used for its intended purpose.” In addition, “[i]t would...require schools to publicly share the names of all companies with access to student data. The bill, which “[t]he senators first proposed...in August 2014,” “joins a similar bipartisan House measure from Reps. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Luke Messer (R-Ind.),” the Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act. In addition, “Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) is expected to introduce a bill on student data privacy soon.” Education Dive compared Markey and Hatch’s proposed legislation (The Protecting Student Privacy Act of 2015) to Polis and Messer’s Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act, saying that “[w]hile the bills have similar goals, their approaches differ slightly.” According to Education Dive , although “[b]oth prohibit directly advertising to students, the House legislation (the Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act) seems more explicit in its ban on the selling of student data to third parties, creating non-school related profiles of students, and requiring all private companies to disclose what information they are collecting on students, as well as how they plan to use said information.” Senators Markey and Hatch wrote an op-ed piece for The Hill about their bill and the need for student privacy protection. For more: The HillEducation WeekBusiness Insider.

Senator David Vitter Introduces Student Privacy Protection Act
Last week, Senator David Vitter (R-LA) released another potential FERPA amendment entitled theStudent Privacy Protection Act. According to Breitbart, the bill “would return control of student education records back to parents and their children,...enact new guidelines for schools and educational agencies that typically release students’ education records to third parties,....and would provide privacy protections to students who are homeschooled.” For more: Senator Vitter’s Press ReleaseThe Hill.

Georgia Passes Student Data Privacy, Accessibility and Transparency Act
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal recently signed the Student Data Privacy, Accessibility and Transparency Act into law. The bill “requires an inventory of all data elements collected, along with explanations for why the collection is taking place,” gives parents “the explicit right to review their child’s education record,” and “will...eliminate data collection not deemed necessary in a student’s education record, like political or religious affiliation.” The Foundation for Excellence in Education released a statementpraising the law for being “the most comprehensive student data privacy bill in the country and [putting] protections in place to ensure that student data is used responsibly” and calling it “a model for other states.”

New Student Privacy Laws Signed in Maryland
Last week, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed a law (the Student Data Privacy Act) that, according to Paige Kowalski, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy at the Data Quality Campaign, “governs online service providers by prohibiting the commercial and secondary use of student data.” The law “closes gaps that currently allow companies to commercially exploit data they collect about students...by banning companies from using student data to target ads to students or to create personal profiles for non-educational purposes.” In addition, Governor Hogan signed another law which “prohibits college officials from requiring or asking students to grant access to their private social media accounts.”

Articles/Resources

This update was compiled by Hannah Offer. Hannah is a senior at the Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences and a research assistant for the Student Privacy Initiative.

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