Student Data and De-Identification


Today, FPF has released its newest paper, Student Data and De-Identification: Understanding De-Identification of Education Records and Related Requirements of FERPA.  Prepared in partnership with Reg Leichty of Foresight Law + Policy, this paper provides an overview of the different tools used to de-identify data to various degrees, based on the type of information involved, and the determined risk of unintended disclosure of individual identity. Proper data de-identification requires technical knowledge and expertise as well as knowledge of, and adherence to, industry best practice.

“Data de-identification represents one privacy protection strategy that should be in every student data holder’s playbook. Integrated with other robust privacy and security protections, appropriate de-identification – choosing the best de-identification technique based on a given data disclosure purpose and risk level – provides a pathway for protecting student privacy without compromising data’s value. This paper provides a high level introduction to: (1) education records de-identification techniques; and (2) explores the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act’s (FERPA) application to de-identified education records. The paper also explores how advances in mathematical and statistical techniques, computational power, and Internet connectivity may be making de-identification of student data more challenging and thus raising potential questions about FERPA’s long-standing permissive structure for sharing non-personally identifiable information.”


De-Identification and other issues relating to student privacy will be discussed at our upcoming Student Privacy Symposium on Sept 21.  Learn more.