This Week in Student Privacy: 4/15
Maryland Passes Student Privacy Bills
Last week, the Maryland “House of Delegates and state Senate both passed bills to strengthen students’ online privacy by prohibiting universities from intruding on private social media accounts.” According to The Huffington Post, “[t]he legislation, which Democratic Sen. Ronald Young introduced in February, would not only protect students at public and private colleges from invasions of privacy online, but it would also protect schools from legal liability over students' posts, Shear said.” In addition, “[t]he legislation would also give students legal grounds to sue a university if officials violate the law.” The House and the Senate “are voting this week on a uniform final version [of the bills] to send to Gov. Larry Hogan.” For more: University Herald.
Class Action Lawsuit Against Facebook for Privacy Violations Begins
This past summer, Austrian law student Max Schrems began “a class action lawsuit against Facebook for violations of European privacy laws.” Schrems “appealed to a billion Facebook users around the world” on his website to join his cause. Last week, “[t]he first day of hearings began with a four-hour session in which Facebook's lawyers tried to convince the judge not to admit the suit brought by...Schrems, 27, who is claiming 500 euros ($538) in damages for each user.” Schrems “is claiming damages for alleged data violations by Facebook, including by aiding the U.S. National Security Agency in running its PRISM program, which mined the personal data of Facebook users.” According to Reuters, “[t]he judge said a written decision on whether the court can handle the suit will come before the summer.” For more: The Telegraph.
- EdSurge published an article entitled “5 Questions Schools Should Ask to Protect Students’ Privacy.”
- The National Education Policy Center (NEPC) at the University of Colorado Boulder recently released a report entitled “On the Block: Student Data and Privacy in the Digital Age.” For more: THE Journal.
- The Center for Digital Education published an article about the recently released draft FERPA amendment on student privacy.
- The New York Times published an article about the ethical questions surrounding the anti-cheating app Proctortrack.
- New Hampshire’s The Concord Monitor published an article about New Hampshire’s House Bill 520, which is currently “making its way through the state Legislature.” The bill “establishes guidelines for the protection of student online personal information, in the face of powerful corporate interests that are working to undermine our children’s most sensitive, personal and private information.”
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.