Plain-Language Resource for Policymakers Addresses Student Privacy
WASHINGTON, DC – April 4, 2019 – Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) has released The Policymaker’s Guide to Student Data Privacy, a crucial resource for federal, state, and local policymakers interested in developing thoughtful student data privacy legislation. Since 2014, state policymakers have built new legal frameworks, passing almost 120 laws specifically to protect student privacy, with additional bills introduced each year.
“Despite the best of intentions, some efforts to protect student privacy hamstring students, teachers, and schools with unintended consequences,” said Amelia Vance, Director of Education Privacy at FPF. “Having people on the ground—students, parents, teachers, administrators, and ed tech companies—involved in the policymaking process can keep well-intentioned laws from limiting important uses of data and technology in the classroom.”
The guide is a starting point to help policymakers craft or update laws addressing student privacy. It covers federal laws as well as the broad approaches that states have taken, including the policies that have caused unintended consequences. Additionally, the guide includes student privacy topics that policymakers commonly address, such as school safety, third party data use, transparency, and parental rights.
FPF wrote the guide collaboratively with an advisory council of other student privacy experts from the following organizations: AASA, The School Superintendents Association; the Alliance for Excellent Education; the Council of Chief State School Officers; Data Quality Campaign; the National Association of State Boards of Education; the National Conference of State Legislatures; and the National School Boards Association.
“Student data and privacy are paramount to student learning and student safety, and AASA is pleased to have partnered with our friends at Future of Privacy Forum to support the creation of this timely and relevant guide,” said Daniel A. Domenech, Executive Director of AASA. “This guide is an excellent starting point for policymakers as they look to introduce new or improve existing law, and to inform any conversations at the federal level.”
FPF brings together industry, academics, consumer advocates, and other thought leaders to explore the challenges posed by technological innovation and develop privacy protections, ethical norms, and workable business practices.FPF helps fill the void in the “space not occupied by law,” which exists due to the speed of technology development. As “data optimists,” we believe that the power of data for good is a net benefit to society and that it can be well-managed to control risks and offer the best protections and empowerment to consumers and individuals.
About the Education Privacy Project:
The Education Privacy Project aims to equip stakeholders – K-12 and higher education advocates, ed tech vendors, policymakers, and local and state education agency privacy leaders – to better understand how to protect student privacy and to implement privacy-protective solutions that also allow important uses of data and technology in the classroom to help students. The Project helps district and state education privacy leaders further their knowledge of best practices and resources, support implementation of state and local privacy policies and laws, and equip them to become grassroots spokespersons for balancing privacy with the important uses of data and technology in education.