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New US Dept of Ed Finding: Schools Cannot Require Parents or Students to Waive Their FERPA Rights Through Ed Tech Company’s Terms of Service

Policymakers, parents, and privacy advocates have long asked whether FERPA is up to the task of protecting student privacy in the 21st century. A just-released letter regarding the Agora Cyber Charter School might signal that a FERPA compliance crack-down – frequently mentioned as their next step after providing extensive guidance by the U.S. Department of Education (USED) employees at conferences throughout 2017 – has begun. The Agora letter provides crucial guidance to schools and ed tech companies about how USED interprets FERPA’s requirements regarding parental consent and ed tech products’ terms of service, and it may predict USED’s enforcement priorities going forward.

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Law Enforcement Access to Student Records: What Is the Law?

Today, the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) released “Law Enforcement Access to Student Records: A Guide for School Administrators & Ed Tech Service Providers,” written by Amelia Vance and Sarah Williamson. This guide helps to answer some of the basic questions that we have heard from key stakeholders about law enforcement access to data over the past nine months.

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Bipartisan Report: Feds Should Connect Student Data While Protecting Privacy

Today, the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking released their final report. The Commission was created through bi-partisan legislation in 2016 to “consider how to strengthen government’s evidence-building and policymaking efforts” (page 16). One of the key issues that the Commission heard from advocates on all sides about whether to overturn the current federal ban on connecting education data collected by the federal government in order to provide students, postsecondary institutions, and the public with information that could be used to improve policies or better target federal funding.

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FPF Panel will Shine Light on FTC’s Authority

Data privacy and security regulators don’t always agree. That’s no surprise to those observing the discussions that have followed the European Court of Justice’s decision to invalidate the adequacy of the EU-U.S. Safe Harbor framework.  But the disputes aren’t always global.  Sometimes regulators from the same country, working in the same agency, disagree about how to […]

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NHTSA & FTC Critical of House Vehicle Safety Proposal

October 14, 2015 — The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade met to discuss proposals to improve motor vehicle safety. Much of the hearing focused on a recent proposal by committee staff to incentivize the adoption of new technologies to improve vehicle safety, which raises several privacy issues. Specifically, privacy and […]

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Discussing the Merits of Device Encryption

In the wake of Apple and Google’s recent decision to implement “whole device encryption” on their latest mobile operating systems, the FBI has warned that the tech giants’ actions will force law enforcement to “go dark” when it comes to keeping tabs of criminals. FPF has previously explored the question of encryption and law enforcement access, […]