For-Profit Privacy and Privacy Rights Students

Student Data for Sale, Thanks to Congress

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Student privacy activists are outraged by the legislation that’s being rushed through Congress that would legalize industry’s right to confidential data about children without parental consent.

 

This is from Leonie Haimson and Rachel Strickland of Student Privacy Matters:

 

Rep. Luke Messer (IN) and Rep. Jared Polis (CO) are introducing a bill in the House that would allow vendors of online programs used in schools to collect, share and commercialize the personal information of students. Rep. Polis has said that they intend to rush this bill through the House, without amendment or debate. Parents and privacy advocates CANNOT let this happen.

We need your help. Please visit our action page to send a letter and then make a quick call to your US Representatives.

For more information, see articles in POLITICO and The New York Times, and read the comments of the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy available here.

Thanks,

Rachael Stickland and Leonie Haimson

Co-chairs, Parent Coalition for Student Privacy

http://www.studentprivacymatters.org

 

 

Here is today’s story in politico.com by Stephanie Simon:

 

 

“STUDENT PRIVACY BILL UNDER FIRE: A bipartisan student privacy bill to be introduced in the House today aims to reassure parents that their children’s data is safe. But the bill lets companies continue to collect huge amounts of intimate information on students, compile it into profiles of their aptitudes and attitudes – and then mine that data for commercial gain. It also permits the companies to sell personal information about students to colleges and potential employers, according to a near-final draft reviewed by Morning Education. Microsoft has already endorsed the bill. And the chief sponsors, Republican Rep. Luke Messer and Democratic Rep. Jared Polis, say they’re confident it will quickly earn bipartisan support in both chambers. It will likely get a push as well from the White House, which worked closely with Messer and Polis on the language. But privacy advocates and parent activists see the bill as deeply flawed. It’s riddled with “huge loopholes” and “escape clauses,” said Khaliah Barnes, director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center’s student privacy project.

 

– Consider a provision barring companies from selling personal information about students. That seems rock-solid. Yet there’s an exception: A company can sell data if a student or parent requests it be shared “in furtherance of post-secondary education or employment opportunities.” An online textbook, tutorial service or gaming app could likely fulfill this requirement by asking kids to check a box if they want to hear from colleges or employers interested in students just like them. I have more here: http://politico.pro/1CPMUf3

 

– Industry has opposed any federal privacy law, out of concern that it would stifle innovation. Hoping to showcase the benefits of that innovation, the Software Information and Industry Association and the trade association TechAmerica have launched the “Smarter Schools Project,” which highlights classrooms using technology wisely. More: http://bit.ly/1CHTPXw

 

– Some ed-tech start-ups, meanwhile, are moving aggressively to showcase their own commitment to protecting privacy. The company Kickboard is sharing privacy protection advice with other start ups. Clever posted its privacy policy on GitHub, which lets readers track any changes. And when parent activists took to Twitter to question how a startup called LearnSprout was using student data, the company responded by asking them for help making sure the data was protected. Months of dialog followed. LearnSprout unveils its new approach today: The company promises that it will never sell or rent personally identifiable information about students and will never use that information to improve or market its own products. Read more about the dialog from LearnSprout Marketing Director Paul Smith: http://bit.ly/1GCQUNw and from Rachael Stickland and Leonie Haimson of the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy: http://bit.ly/1CGVgnz.”;

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