- President Barack Obama announced Monday that he will push for the passage of the Student Digital Privacy Act.
- The legislation is meant to further prevent companies that contract with schools and collect student data from selling that information or using it for targeted advertising purposes.
- The bill is based on a law in California and its announcement was coupled with a push for greater consumer data protection from hacked retailers.
Despite protections already in place by FERPA and COPPA, the growing amount of tech in schools that collects student data has created discomfort among some parents and lawmakers. Additionally, there's likely the need to cover any potential loopholes that existing laws might not cover.
In a statement issued via email, the Data Quality Campaign, an organization that advocates for the responsible use of student data, said, "Today’s announcement reinforces a strong, ongoing effort by states, which have passed 26 new laws in the past year to safeguard student data, and efforts by the education technology industry, which pledged a series of commitments to safeguard data that has been signed by 75 companies. These are important first steps of many to create comprehensive protection for student data."
In its own statement, the National Association of Secondary School Principals the opportunities afforded to education by technology, but added, "At the same time, principals must be able to attest to parents that the data collected for educational purposes is used only for educational purposes. Absent a mandate, principals would have to either negotiate their own guidelines with vendors or withhold crucial data from technology partners, which limits the effectiveness of the tool. We hope the new legislation will ultimately have the effect of reducing the confusion created by the patchwork of guidelines from FERPA, state regulations, and the educational technology industry itself."