Feb 212014
 February 21, 2014  Posted by  Featured News, Youth & Schools

Student privacy is becoming a hot issue this year, and we’re seeing more bills intended to protect the security and privacy of student information. In today’s news, there are items from California, Maryland, Wyoming, and Wisconsin of note.

For California, Natasha Singer reported:

A leading California lawmaker plans to introduce state legislation on Thursday that would shore up privacy and security protections for the personal information of students in elementary through high school, a move that could alter business practices across the nearly $8 billion education technology software industry.

The bill would prohibit education-related websites, online services and mobile apps for kindergartners through 12th graders from compiling, using or sharing the personal information of those students in California for any reason other than what the school intended or for product maintenance.

Read more in the New York Times. You can find the senator’s press release on the proposed legislation here.

In Maryland, John Patti reports:

There is a hearing set for today in the Maryland House of Delegates that deals with student privacy.

It would set minimum standards for the collection of information from students by cloud computing providers. These are private companies that promise to help students learn by providing software and online services.

Read more on WBAL and this OpEd by privacy attorney Bradley S. Shear.

In Wyoming, Associated Press reports:

The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday narrowed the focus of a bill that would require parental consent before education and personal data can be collected on children in the Wyoming school system.

The panel approved House Bill 179 with a 7-2 vote. The proposal now heads to the House floor for more debate.

Before passing the bill, the panel amended it to clarify that only data collected by the state Department of Education would require the consent. There were concerns that the original bill could have prevented a local school from collecting student grades and other basic information.

Read more on Billings Gazette.

In Wisconsin, Associated Press reports:

The Wisconsin Assembly has passed a bill that designed to keep student data secure.

Republican Rep. Don Pridemore’s proposal would require the state Department of Public Instruction to post online the data points it collects on students and develop a plan to keep the students’ data secure, including steps for dealing with a breach.

Read more on The Republic.

And earlier this week, in Kansas, Celia Llopis-Jepsen reported:

A proposal to create a Student Data Privacy Act in Kansas drew support Tuesday from the state’s school board association.

Mark Tallman, a lobbyist for the Kansas Association of School Boards, told the Senate Education Committee his group supports the bill in hopes that it will give parents peace of mind concerning data about their children.

Senate Bill 367 would codify restrictions on sharing student data and on collecting biometric data from students, such as their DNA sequences.

Read more on The Topeka Capital-Journal.

These are all encouraging signs. Eventually, I suspect we’ll have the same kind of patchwork quilt problem we have with data breach laws, but this is an important start in protecting sensitive student information and I’m glad to see it, even though I may not agree with all of the bills.

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