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This Week in Student Privacy: 3/31

D.C.’s Office of the State Superintendent accidentally releases confidential student information
Last week, “[t]he District of Columbia's Office of the State Superintendent inadvertently released confidential data for thousands of students while responding to a Freedom of Information Act request from Internet news site BuzzFeed.” According to Buzzfeed, “[o]ne file included data from a 2012-13 Student Enrollment Audit of more than 80,000 students, and contained students’ first and last names, birth dates, gender, race and ethnicity, and schools.” Two other “files included discipline data, such as when and why students were suspended or expelled” and “also included information about student disabilities.”

Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act to be introduced to the House
As we reported last week, the Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act, set to be introduced in the House last Monday, was delayed due to criticism. The bill is now supposed to be presented in the House later this week. According to Education Dive, the bill “notably ignores higher education in its limitations on student data by ed tech companies, seen by some as a missed opportunity to address privacy on a broader level and has been referred to as ‘myopic’ in its scope.” For more: For more: Washington Post, The Hill, NPR, NYT, EdSurge.


  • JD Supra published a piece about the current state of federal student privacy legislation.
  • Carl Szabo wrote a piece for The Hill about how “[l[aws protecting students to strike…[a] balance between safety and growth” for students.
  • Tony Porterfield, “software engineer, parent, and edsec advocate,” wrote a piece for EdSurge about “Why Student Data Security Matters.”
  • EdSurge’s Christina Quattrocchi reported on the Consortium for School Networking's (CoSN) conference.
  • National Education Association president Lily Eskelsen García wrote a piece for The Washington Post in which “she looks at current education reform efforts and calls for education companies to be transparent about what they are doing and how it is affecting young people.”
  • Funny Monkey and The New York Times reported on Pearson’s social media monitoring practices.
  • Business Wire reported on Kickboard, “[the] developer of the award-winning Kickboard instructional management solution, [which] is leading the [ed tech] ‘open sourcing’ its privacy policies and processes.”

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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